Withers KhattarWong, the Singapore arm of international firm Withers, has secured an injunction on the sale of the Bored Ape Yacht Club Non-Fungible Token (NFT) on the Ethereum blockchain.
The BAYC NFT series is a collection of 10,000 avatars which at one point had a floor price of 108 Ethereum,—the equivalent of over $260,000—due to its popularity and a large celebrity following.
The Singapore High Court’s injunction to protect an NFT is the first in Asia and the first globally in a commercial dispute. The court’s decision to freeze trading of the NFT was based on a judgment to consider it as a digital asset. In an unusual move, the Singapore court also allowed for the injunction to be issued via social media platforms including Twitter and instant messaging social platform, Discord.
The matter was led by the firm’s contentious practice partner, Shaun Leong, in Singapore.
Leong represented an individual Singapore NFT investor who had used one ape from the series to borrow Ethereum worth around $103,000 from the defendant, who goes by the alias of “chefpierre” on social media platforms and metaverse games. The defendant’s real identity is unknown.
The loan took place through the NFTfi, a community platform that operates as a cryptocurrency lending marketplace with NFTs as collateral.
As part of the agreement, the Bored Ape NFT was to be held by the defendant until the claimant had repaid the loan. It was stipulated in the agreement that the defendant would not relinquish ownership of the collateral, and if the loan was not repaid by the deadline, an extension would be granted.
But when the investor failed to repay the loan by the deadline, the defendant moved the NFT to their personal Ethereum wallet and advertised it for sale on OpenSea, an NFT marketplace. The claimant is now asking the defendant to accept repayment of the loan and to return the collateral.