A group of UK-based lawyers, barristers, forensic accountants, corporate intelligence and asset recovery experts have launched a network aimed at making London a global hub for the settling of disputes over digital assets.

The Crypto Fraud and Asset Recovery network (CFAAR) said in a statement that it had brought together some of the world's leading names in crypto disputes and advisory with the purpose of developing and sharing best practice in this rapidly evolving sphere, placing the UK and common law jurisdictions at centre stage for global crypto dispute resolution.

CFAAR's founding members - Asset Reality, Essex Court Chambers, Grant Thornton, Osborne Clarke, Rahman Ravelli, RPC, Stewarts and Twenty Essex - include practitioners leading the first crypto-related disputes before the English courts, as well as those actively involved in pioneering approaches to global crypto fraud investigations, forensics, advocacy and the tracing and recovery of cryptoassets.

The network stated that it is seeking global professionals in the crypto sphere to join an inclusive community that will host regular meetings, seminars, roundtables, conferences and social events to provide opportunities for developing skills, ideas and networks globally, as well as being an authoritative and independent voice in crypto-related judicial and regulatory reviews and consultations.

As crypto-related frauds, such as those involving cryptocurrency theft, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and ransomware attacks, continue to rise in scale and sophistication, the need for the legal industry and its expert service providers to respond robustly and effectively in this nascent area of practice requires a joined-up approach that provides victims of fraud with the best possible means of redress.

Commenting independently on CFAAR's launch, Lawrence Collins (Rt Hon Lord Collins of Mapesbury, former Justice of the UK Supreme Court) said: "Where there is innovation, criminals are not far behind. The latest example is crypto fraud. Criminal enforcement is not a sufficient remedy for victims.

The professions have to arm themselves to help clients who have been the victims of fraudsters who offer unbelievable returns in fake offerings, or who create false cryptoassets and false exchanges, and then hide the proceeds of crime through complex webs.

London has long been a pre-eminent financial and professional centre, but unfortunately it may also be turning into a centre for international financial crime. CFAAR is uniquely placed to build networks to develop remedies to prevent exploitation and to assist victims."

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