On-chain tool to seize crypto is a purist’s nightmare, but a must, says CEO

Cryptocurrency

The founder of layer-1 blockchain Jurat has defended his protocol against potential haters, arguing that on-chain legal enforcement is a necessary trade-off for crypto mass adoption. 

On Aug. 8, a U.S. District Court used Jurat’s on-chain enforcement tool to lock several sanctioned individuals out of their crypto accounts. These individuals were sanctioned for money laundering and using ransomware to extort cryptocurrency payments to benefit North Korea’s weapons program.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Mike Kanovitz, the founder and CEO of Jurat, said the judicial order was the first of its kind.

The Jurat blockchain was launched in late 2022, formed via a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. The technology connects blockchain nodes with court dockets to enforce court orders.

Kanovitz admits that such technology will likely garner criticism from die-hard supporters of decentralization.

“Some people are going to claim to be philosophical purists and hate on it. I get that.”

However, the Illinois-based lawyer said such technology could bring the necessary due process protections for digital assets, which will be key to mainstream adoption.

“Some of the people who currently think that there should not be effective law enforcement on-chain would feel differently if they got hacked, defrauded, or lost their private keys. Then they would be relieved that they can recover their property,” he expla

In the first half of 2023, $656 million in cryptocurrencies werelost to scams, hacks and rug pulls, according to a June 30 report by blockchain security firm Beosin.

“It will not only tame the lawlessness that scares away would be adopters and draws the ire of government officials, it can unlock incredible utility for commerce,” he added.

Related: MetaCourt’s IDO launch: A paradigm shift in Web3 legal services

Until now, courts have had limited means to effectively freeze and seize crypto funds. A common tactic has been to order centralized crypto exchanges to freeze funds or turn over identifying information of the suspect. 

However, the on-chain enforcement tool works by connecting JTC’s blockchain and software nodes with the user’s chosen court. 

During a lawsuit, each party provides the court with a competing hash for what that side wants the court to do. When a ruling is made, the court simply pastes the hash of the winning side, and the software nodes will execute the order autonomously once it accesses the online court docket.

The court attached the Jurat IDs, which JCT’s blockchain nodes then read to block the private keys of the defendants on the JCT Blockchain. Source: Jurat

Kanovitz said the tool currently only works in the United States and only on the JCT blockchain. However, he hopes to bring JCT’s technology into other Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchains in the future.

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