London-based crypto investigation expert Intelligent Sanctuary (iSanctuary) is working with crypto exchanges in Singapore on a case involving an estimated US$3 million in stolen digital assets.
According to the Straits Times, more than five cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore are working with iSanctuary on a case which spans multiple countries, including Spain, Ireland, Britain, and other European countries.
iSanctuary did not name the exchanges, but stated that the fraudsters are ‘purported to be from Singapore’ and that stolen assets are being laundered through exchanges, including some that operate in Singapore.
According to iSanctuary founder and CEO Jonathan Benton, his team managed to track down the assets within the first 24 hours of the incident and applied for an injunction in the Singapore High Court within a week.
The application was for a worldwide freezing order in the form of an NFT, which was served to the private wallet of the hackers.
The NFT is public, and allows for anyone who interacts with the wallet, including cryptocurrency exchanges, to see the court documents and clearly identify that the wallet is involved with the stolen funds.
The NFTs themselves are designed by Zach Burks, founder and CEO of NFT marketplace Mintable.
According to Burks, the use of the NFT to serve court documents proves that tokens have real and functional use cases.
“Our innovation lies in this NFT’s capability as both ‘lookout’ and ‘red notice’. Any movement of funds in or out of the cold wallets can be detected by the investigator, and any third party encountering the funds can see the court orders to act.”
This is not the first time that NFTs have been used to serve court documents.
In a podcast session with Coinlive, Yam Wern-Jhien, co-founder and director of Setia Law, also noted that there are times when stolen assets are traced to a wallet, but they are unable to identify the owner of the wallet.
In such cases, simply dropping an NFT of the court document into the wallet may be the best way to ensure that the court document is served.
The injunction that iSanctuary is seeking is also not without precedent. Last year, a Singapore court ruled that NFTs are digital assets, and that they can be afforded legal protections under the law.
The court then issued an injunction against further sales of the NFT, and the NFT, which was being sold on OpenSea, was marked for suspicious activity.