Dubai Court to Tackle Crypto Fraud, Rein in AI with Digital Economy System


Justice Michael Black, the head judge of Dubai’s dedicated Digital Economy Court, has shared how the emirate aims to keep up with a rapidly changing legal landscape in order to protect the public from emerging threats, such as cryptocurrency fraud. Established in December 2020, the court is responsible for hearing civil and commercial litigation cases related to the digital economy, such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, 3D printing, and robotics.

Justice Black told The National, “It’s a new area and we are in no doubt that the wave is coming. We have to look at what was said to be science fiction about seven years ago and is now science fact.” The court’s current workload primarily consists of cases involving the use and misuse of digital currency, with one high-profile cryptocurrency case garnering “huge international interest.”

The dispute is between a number of Dubai-based cryptocurrency trading companies and involves the misappropriation of 300 bitcoins worth about Dh31.2 million ($8.5 million). The buyer’s representative insisted on setting up a digital wallet which was supposed to be securely overseen by both parties; however, two hours after the bitcoins were transferred, they were moved to another wallet, leading to police involvement and eventually a court case. Last October, the Digital Court decided the agreement had not amounted to a binding contract, making it a landmark case in the field.

Justice Black stated that the court’s decision will be reported worldwide due to the massive international interest in the subject. He added that the court’s rules and regulations were written in such a way that they could easily be adapted to changing requirements in the future. To ensure they remain up to date, court officials undergo regular training and study markets and developments.

Apart from handling cases worth millions, the court also oversees smaller claims involving as little as $10,000. The court aims to broaden its scope to include matters related to AI, smart contracts, Distributed Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) and Autonomous Digital Enterprises (ADEs).

Ghassan El Daye, a partner and head of litigation in the Middle East for UK-based law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, which is leading the case involving the complex cryptocurrency dispute, said the court will be a vital tool for settling digital disputes in the years to come. He added that the

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