London’s High Court has ordered Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, to identify and freeze the accounts of hackers involved in an alleged $2.6 million heist on its platform.
The order follows a request from a crypto company called Fetch.ai, which says its Binance accounts were compromised back in June. According to a transcript of the High Court proceedings, Fetch.ai alleges that the hackers made off with multiple cryptocurrencies: Tether, Binance Coin, Bitcoin, and FET, Fetch.ai’s own token.
The transcript is dated July 15 but was unsealed this week.
A spokesperson for Fetch.ai told Decrypt that the tracing work is already underway and that the company has been “working closely with Binance.” Binance confirmed its involvement in a statement to Reuters.
Binance is a centralized exchange, which means it holds the private keys to its accounts and has the power to freeze or halt trades. Privacy purists tend to prefer decentralized exchanges and unhosted wallets, which let traders hold their own keys.
In 2019, the High Court decided that Bitcoin could be legally considered “property,” paving the way for requests like Fetch.ai’s. Even still, it’s relatively rare for British courts to mandate this kind of deliberate tracing.
And though Binance may freeze certain accounts, Fetch.ai will have to prove it’s actually been the victim of a fraud scheme before it can ask the court for its money back.
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