FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Crypto exchange platform Quoine found liable for reversing bitcoin trades: court

B2C2 will claim damages from breach of contract and breach of trust.

The Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) ruled that crypto exchange platform Quoine had mistakenly reversed seven trades made by algorithmic trading software firm B2C2, the plaintiff, on 20 April 2017. The decision marks the first bitcoin (BTC)-related dispute in Singapore.

Quoine was found liable for breach of contract and breach of trust. B2C2, which uses algorithmic trading software to determine and place orders, cited a clause in their agreement with the platform that said, "Once an order is filled, you are notified by the platform and such an action is irreversible" and sought relief of 3,085 BTC from Quoine.

On 19 April 2017, margin traders (which trade using borrowed funds) Pulsar Trading Capital and Yu Tomita were trading on the ethereum (ETH)/BTC market using ETH borrowed from Quoine. Quoine's platform was alerted that both parties' collateral had fallen below the maintenance margins, and automatically put up their assets for sale in order to repay the ETH loans.

B2C2 then placed seven orders to sell ETH for BTC at 10 BTC for 1 ETH. Quoine reversed the orders on 20 April 2017.

Quoine contended that “irreversible”, properly interpreted, does not preclude Quoine, as opposed to the contracting parties, from reversing trades. It also cited a glitch that disabled the programme from accessing ETH and BTC's market price data and stopped it from creating new orders, which in turn caused liquidity issues and problems with B2C2's orders.

The SICC has sided with B2C2 but refused to order Quoine to transfer BTC to B2C2 at the current price, which is higher than the price in April 2017.

B2C2 will be left to a claim in damages for both breaches of contract and of trust which, if not agreed upon, will be assessed at another hearing. "The parties should liaise in drafting an appropriate order which will be settled at a subsequent hearing," SICC added.

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