The UK Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Amir Soleymani’s dispute against Nifty Gateway over a $650,000 NFT
The decision is a ground-breaking moment for UK consumer rights
The ruling protects British internet users from the imposition of automatic foreign arbitration
Nifty Gateway was seeking to avoid English consumer laws and jurisdiction of the English Court by imposing New York-based arbitration, blocking the collector’s protection under English consumer laws
Soleymani v Nifty Gateway is the first time the UK Court of Appeal has intervened in a matter involving NFTs
LONDON, Nov. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The UK Court of Appeal has judged for the first time on a case involving NFTs in a dispute between the digital art collector Amir Soleymani and the online trading platform Nifty Gateway regarding a $650,000 Beeple NFT.
After the Court of Appeal granted Soleymani permission to appeal in July 2022, the art collector received a favourable ruling on 6 October, which impacts every British internet user purchasing goods online under UK consumer laws.
The decision is ground-breaking, protecting consumers from the imposition of automatic foreign arbitration when they want to dispute an online transaction, which happened when Soleymani disputed an online auction on Nifty Gateway and the New York-based platform began arbitral proceedings in New York.
The trading platform, which specialises in digital art and NFTs, sought to avoid English consumer laws and the jurisdiction of the English Courts by imposing a New York-based arbitration, treating him as professional as opposed to a consumer and thereby blocking Soleymani’s protection under English consumer laws.
The disputed auction happened in May 2021 over Beeple’s Abundance, an NFT that Ethereum‘s co-founder Taylor Gerring purchased for $1.2m on Nifty Gateway. Soleymani came third in the auction, but Nifty Gateway claimed that under its terms and conditions, he was liable to pay the total sum of his highest bid in return for the third edition of the NFT.
Amir Soleymani says, “Until now, the sale of digital art published as NFTs has been operating as if based in international waters – with any selling platform accused of foul play forcing arbitration in whichever jurisdiction had the weakest consumer rights laws and best suited their case. I hope this judgment gives consumers protection against such gerrymandering.”
Soleymani’s legal counsel says, “The case Mr Soleymani is seeking to make has broad implications for all consumers using the internet in general in this jurisdiction. In a UK court, consumer disputes should be considered and ruled upon in public, instead of by a foreign tribunal that is not obliged to honour the protections our government affords each of us under UK law.”