TL;DR: Regional Chinese media are insisting a local court has effectively recognized Bitcoin as property, going against what most experts in the West have contended for years about the government’s supposed ban. It’s unclear what official ramifications such a ruling might have exactly, but China watchers are cheering it as a watershed moment.
China Watchers Cheer Bitcoin-as-Property Ruling
“Bitcoin holds the attributes as property – valuable, scarce and disposable. We should recognize it as a virtual property,” Dovey Wan of Primitive translated from the original Chinese. “According to ‘The General Civil Law,’ virtual property is legally protected by laws of People’s Republic of China.”
When asked by CoinSpice if the recent ruling compares to that of a seemingly similar decision back in 2018, Wan demurred slightly, “I’m not a legal expert but it seems to me the case today went on a full trial of [a] court, [and] the 2018 case is an arbitration (a settlement process between two parties),” later elaborating, “Hence in all Chinese news coverage said “first court case recognizing Bitcoin as virtual property.”
Indeed, local media characterized the decision as a first, the result of a property dispute case whereby Bitcoin was given a kind of legitimacy in context. That’s a far cry from most typical Westerners’ understanding of China policy toward cryptocurrency, which is usually blanketed as a “ban.” It might be more nuanced than that after all. It also could be a partial explanation for why ecosystem speculative markets are suddenly rallying after a few days of price drops.
The case apparently stems from back in 2013 and the purchase of close to 3 bitcoin. It was kept in custody, but the business holding the buyer’s bitcoin closed. The buyer sued as a result. Wan further characterized the latest decision as “unreal to me actually,” describing her frustration as a result of years being told “‘holding Bitcoin is illegal you mother fucking criminal’ cloud in mainland China,” she posted exasperatedly. She did temper her enthusiasm, however, warning, “to be clear here, holding Bitcoin as a private property is legal does not mean ‘trading Bitcoin in a systematic way’ is legal, yet. So don’t equate this as crypto exchange is legal in China there is still long way to go. One step a time,” Wan cautioned.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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