An internet court in China has reportedly made a landmark ruling on cryptocurrencies, recognizing Bitcoin as having legal value as property.
Per Chinese media outlet BJ News, Hangzhou Internet Court – one of three legal bodies in the country that handle digital and internet-based legal matters – ruled on July 18 that Bitcoin and other tokens could be legally considered as having financial value, and as such could be termed as “property” or belongings with real financial worth.
The court was ruling on a case that dated back to 2013, when before the 2017 crackdown that effectively eliminated legal cryptocurrency trading in Mainland China. A buyer claims that they paid a vendor for 2.675 BTC, but failed to receive the said tokens after the vendor closed down its business and took its website offline.
The court ruled in favor of the buyer, stating that Bitcoin was a “virtual property,” and as such was “protected by Chinese law.”
However, the media report concludes that despite the court’s ruling, Bitcoin and other tokens still cannot be considered as legal tender in the country.
The move does provide Bitcoin and altcoins with some sort of legal footing in China, which many optimists will take heart from. However, the ruling is also likely to create a legal precedent whereby prosecutors and police will be able to apply to courts in the country for warrants to seize cryptocurrency holdings in cases of fraud and other misdemeanors.
Dovey Wan, a founding partner of California-based investment company Primitive Ventures, called the ruling a “big milestone” for cryptocurrencies in China.
Readers may recall that local courts in Russiaand South Korea made similar landmark rulings in two cases last year.
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