Singapore: The High Court issues injunction to block potential sale and transfer of NFT

In brief

On 13 May 2022, the Singapore High Court issued an injunction that blocked the potential sale and transfer of a non-fungible token (NFT) previously owned by the claimant as part of his efforts to repossess the NFT from an online persona.

NFTs are tokens used to represent the ownership of unique items or underlying assets such as artwork, commodities, shares and coins. Most NFTs are metadata files that have been encoded using a work.

The injunction is reportedly the first in Asia — and globally — to protect an NFT in the context of a purely commercial dispute. This development, which recognizes NFTs as property to which injunctions can attach, is also consistent with jurisprudence in other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, which recently recognized NFTs as private property.


On 13 May 2022, the Singapore High Court issued an injunction that blocked the potential sale and transfer of an NFT previously owned by the claimant, as part of his efforts to repossess the NFT from an online persona.

The NFT in question, known as BYAC No. 2162, is part of a limited NFT collection, each featuring a simian avatar with distinguishing features such as facial expressions, clothing and accessories.

Due to the value and rarity of the NFT, the claimant was able to routinely use it as collateral to finance various cryptocurrency loans.

However, the terms of each loan agreement provided the following:

  • The claimant would either repay the loan in full within the stipulated period, failing which he would inform the lender, who would then proceed to provide a reasonable time extension.
  • The lender should never use the "foreclose" option to take ownership of the NFT if repayment is not made on time.

In one such transaction, the claimant asked for a refinancing of a loan.

The defendant ("chefpierre") gave a seven-hour time frame in which the loan could be repaid.

On the claimant's failure to repay, chefpierre foreclosed on the NFT and rejected any subsequent attempts by the claimant to repay the loan.

The NFT was subsequently listed on OpenSea for sale.

The High Court granted the claimant's application for an injunction, blocking the potential sale and transfer of the NFT.

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