The latest U.K. court of Appeal decision overturned an earlier claim that had previously endorsed the developers’ rights in the Tulip Trading Limited (TTL) case at the High Court in England in March.
Recall that in April 2021, several developers were sued by Tulip Trading Ltd., a Seychelles-based business owned by self-acclaimed bitcoin pioneer Craig Wright, to recoup lost bitcoin valued at nearly $4 billion.
The Court of Appeal judge, while justifying the position, said that bitcoin developers are gatekeepers who protect and tweak the software of an underlying digital token and so should face trial because of their key role in exercising power over property owned by other people.
Although the trial is still ongoing, the developers’ lawyer highlighted concerns in an emailed statement that if they lose at trial, it might expose developers to billions of dollars in claims from anonymous people and pose a risk to the operation of decentralized finance.
TTL’s claim targets developers like Peter Todd, Pieter Wuille, Cory Fields, Roger Ver, and others who have worked on the Bitcoin network.
One of the key developers in the case is Roger Ver, commonly referred to as ‘bitcoin Jesus.’ He is well-known for his position as an evangelist in the early days of cryptocurrency, along with Blockstream co-founders Matt Corallo and Greg Maxwell.
Felicity Potter, a partner at Ontiers and legal counsel for TTL, described the appeal court ruling as a step towards ensuring proper regulation of the digital assets ecosystems.