What the UK High Court of Justice thinks of NFTs

“Please don’t touch that”

The tired words of museum security guards having to deal with handsy tourists all day.

But at least we recognise the importance of these words – there is only one original version of the piece of art, and we don’t want popcorn-smeared fingerprints all over it.

But most of us give the online equivalent much less credit;

“Please don’t screenshot that”

-Every NFT owner ever

Screenshotting NFTs have become the subject of much trolling and memes on the internet.


For the same reason good people who would NEVER steal a physical DVD from a store have no issues illegally streaming a movie. The rationalization goes something like this:

  • Digital assets are infinitely duplicatable
  • Each duplication doesn’t damage or harm the original asset in any way
  • Therefore there is no additional cost to the owner or creator (not technically true)

The High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom would seem to disapprove.

In early May, legal precedent was set recognizing NFTs as ‘private property’. Of course, this means that NFTs will now receive legal protection as such.

But this comes with a caveat that this status does not extend to cover the actual underlying content the NFT represents. Slightly confusing.

What does any of this have to do with real property?

Any significant developments in the area of ‘private property’ is relevant to property investors.

The idea of ‘private property’ is the foundation of what makes ‘property investing’ possible. It might be the most natural thing in the world for investors in the United Kingdom, but this is still not the case for some other parts of the world.

As new technologies like NFTs get introduced, the boundaries of the concept of ‘private property’ get pushed out and blurred.

For us, this could mean opportunities, or risks – perhaps both.

Stay epic,

Sam Lee

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