Coinbase $1.4 million Bitcoin theft case meets an amicable end


America’s leading digital currency exchange Coinbase’s Bitcoin theft case, which had resulted in the CEO of Alphabit losing over one million dollars ($1.4 million) in Bitcoin, has been settled out of court for an unspecified amount. 

California-based Coinbase’s UK entity, Coinbase UK, was involved in a legal dispute with the victim and CEO of Alphabit Fund, Liam Robertson, as the latter had lost almost one and a half million dollars worth of Bitcoin in a supposed email phishing attack.

The Bitcoin Theft case – How it all happened?

Apparently, victim Robertson fell prey to an algorithmic trading fund hack, early in July, when he was hoodwinked into transferring his Bitcoin to attackers’ wallet address. A probe into this attacked further revealed that 80 BTC were transferred to Coinbase UK, 15 BTC to LocalBitcoins and the remaining amount to an offline wallet account. At the time of the attack, Bitcoin was trading at eleven thousand dollars ($11000), resulting in the victim losing over one million dollars in the alleged scam.

Soon after the shocking discovery, Robertson obtained an asset preservation order which froze his stolen Bitcoin assets with Coinbase. Furthermore, he bagged a Bankers Trust Order from the court and demanded Coinbase to reveal the wallet holder’s identity.

On Sep 10, both parties decided to put an end to a month-long legal scuffle with an amicable agreement.

Crucial juncture for Bitcoin

However, what makes this case stand out is the fact that for the first time, British High Court treated Bitcoin as legal property. The incident proved to be a turning point for Bitcoin’s persistent efforts in acquiring a legal status over the years. Some argued that it could go a long way in helping phishing attack victims in reclaiming their lost property.

The official report stipulated that for the first time ever, the British court contemplating Bitcoin’s legality. While the court went ahead to rule in favor of the asset’s well-deserved status, Roberson’s lawyer, however, argued that it is his personal property as it holds no physical possession to it.

Finally, the English law decided to consider it as “property” by ordering Coinbase to freeze the stolen assets until further notice.