Chinese court recognizes Bitcoin as a digital currency


The Second Intermediate People’s Court of Shanghai recognized the first cryptocurrency as a “unique and irreproducible” digital asset, confirming its value at the legal level.

Judge Ren Suxian in her report outlined the main features of cryptocurrencies and highlighted the difficulties of interpreting such terms in practice.

She recalled two similar cases of the theft of USDT worth 12 million yuan (~$1.64 million) and Bitcoin. In the first case, the court qualified the crime as theft of property, and in the second – as illegal obtaining of computer information.

Suxian also named the main difficulties of litigation with digital assets:

  • undefined legal properties of cryptocurrencies;
  • difficulties with tracking and handling;
  • irreversibility and anonymous nature of transactions.

The report notes that Bitcoin has inherited the key characteristics of currencies, including scalability, ease of circulation, storage and payment. At the same time, the coin continues to be used throughout the world, despite its decentralized nature, the judge emphasized.

“Currently, digital currency in our country is not recognized as a means of payment, there are different descriptions of its characteristics as a commodity and a monetary unit, but it is not contraband, and its property properties cannot be completely denied,” Suxian added.

To avoid further confusion, the report proposes options for modernizing the judicial system. First, it is necessary to introduce consideration of cases at two levels – “people” and “things”. This will make it easier to categorize the key listening objects.

Secondly, the government needs to establish a procedure for enforcement measures regarding cryptocurrencies, including a confiscation mechanism. Finally, Suxian advised improving the system for identifying digital asset holders.

Since 2017, trading in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on local exchanges has been outlawed in China. Later, the authorities only tightened control over industry participants.

Let us recall that in early September, the People’s Court of China recognized cryptocurrency as property. According to the resolution, virtual assets have economic properties and can be classified as property under the protection of the law.

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