Cryptocurrency firm must release details of account linked to alleged €1.5m bitcoin theft

Coinbase ordered to release details of account allegedly linked with Mt Gox hack

The High Court has made orders directing a cryptocurrency storage and exchange company registered in Ireland to hand over details of an account thought to be connected with stolen bitcoin worth an estimated €1.5 million.

Jack Stanbury, an English language editor based in Madrid, Spain, said his bitcoin cryptocurrency was valued at €3,000 in August 2013 when the now-defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange, MtGox, was hacked and his 41.96 bitcoin were allegedly stolen from his digital wallet.

Mr Stanbury said this hack predated a separate and largely publicised hack of the Tokyo-based exchange, which ultimately led to its collapse in the spring of 2014. He said he has made a claim as a creditor in the ongoing Civil Rehabilitation proceedings of MtGox for the 0.02553738 bitcoin left in his digital wallet at the time of the exchange’s closure.

Blockchain specialists

Mr Stanbury, who claims his stolen cryptocurrency would now be worth some €1.54 million, has pursued his digital assets by engaging blockchain specialists in California and believes he has tracked its movement from the Japanese exchange to an account with the cryptocurrency storage and exchange company Coinbase.


American lawyers attempted to gain information about a specified account through a US district court, but it was discovered the details were held by Coinbase Europe Limited, which has an address at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin 2.

Coinbase did not oppose his application before the Irish High Court. Its position was that it could not hand over the personal details without a subpoena or court order.

His counsel, Matthew Jolley, told the High Court on Thursday that Mr Stanbury is “not a man of significant means” but his bitcoin is worth a “significant sum”. He said Mr Stanbury has give an undertaking that the information disclosed would be used solely for the purpose of seeking redress in respect of the alleged wrongdoing he complained of.

Mr Justice Senan Allen made orders compelling Coinbase Europe Limited to furnish Mr Stanbury’s solicitors with certain details about the identify of the specified account.

He was satisfied from Mr Stanbury’s sworn statement that his account had been hacked and his bitcoin were last seen in the named Coinbase account. The judge concluded there was no means for the plaintiff to establish the owner of the account save for Coinbase disclosing it.

On agreement between the parties, he made no order as to the costs of the application.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is an Irish Times reporter