On 3 February 2023, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division (the “Court”) handed down judgment in the litigation between Tulip Trading Limited (“TTL”) and a number of core developers of software in respect of four bitcoin networks.

The Court found that it was properly arguable that software developers may owe fiduciary duties to owners of cryptoassets on their networks, and that these duties may in certain circumstances require developers to introduce a software patch with the effect that an owner’s assets are transferred into safety, e.g., where the owner’s private key had been lost or stolen.

This alert memorandum sets out the key points of the judgment and explores its wider implications.