The founder of Jurat, a layer-1 blockchain protocol, has defended the use of on-chain legal enforcement, arguing that it is a necessary trade-off for the mass adoption of cryptocurrency. Recently, a U.S. District Court utilized Jurat’s on-chain enforcement tool to lock several individuals out of their crypto accounts. These individuals had been sanctioned for money laundering and using ransomware to fund North Korea’s weapons program.
Mike Kanovitz, the founder and CEO of Jurat, explained that this judicial order marked a significant milestone. The Jurat blockchain, which was launched in late 2022 through a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain, connects blockchain nodes with court dockets to enforce court orders. Kanovitz acknowledged that the technology may face criticism from staunch decentralization supporters but emphasized that it could bring necessary protections for digital assets, ultimately facilitating mainstream adoption.
Supporting his argument, Kanovitz highlighted the staggering amount of cryptocurrencies lost to scams, hacks, and rug pulls in the first half of 2023. A report by blockchain security firm Beosin revealed that $656 million was lost during this period. Kanovitz contended that on-chain legal enforcement could help tackle the lawlessness in the crypto space, which often deters potential adopters and draws the attention of government authorities. Furthermore, he stressed that it has the potential to unlock significant utility for commerce.
In the past, courts have faced limitations when it comes to freezing and seizing crypto funds effectively. One common approach has been to order centralized crypto exchanges to freeze funds or provide identifying information about suspects. However, Jurat’s on-chain enforcement tool takes a different approach. It connects the Jurat blockchain and software nodes with the court chosen by the user. During a lawsuit, each party submits a competing hash to the court, representing their desired outcome. When a ruling is made, the court simply pastes the hash of the winning side, and the software nodes execute the order autonomously after accessing the online court docket.
Kanovitz clarified that the tool is currently only operational in the United States and specifically on the Jurat blockchain. However, he expressed his intentions to expand its functionality to other Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible blockchains in the future, broadening its reach and impact.
Overall, Kanovitz believes that on-chain legal enforcement is crucial for the development and acceptance of cryptocurrency. While acknowledging potential criticism from proponents of decentralization, he maintains that the technology can provide essential due process protections for digital assets, ultimately promoting wider adoption and trust in the crypto space.