Shanghai court affirms that Bitcoin is virtual property, subject to property rights

On May 9, 2018 the Shanghai 10th Intermediate People’s Court of China ruled that Bitcoin is a type of “virtual property” and as such subject to property rights. The ruling represented an important victory in the case against Hu Zhaobo, who was suspected by authorities for illegally profiting from Bitcoin trading on his platform BTC123.com back in 2016 when he allegedly made over 100 million RMB ($15 million).

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The “is this the best time to buy crypto” is a question that has been asked before. The Shanghai court affirms that Bitcoin is virtual property, subject to property rights.

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Bitcoin is subject to property rights rules and regulations, according to a document released by the Shanghai High People’s Court. This determination was issued in connection with a case filed in a district court in October 2020 to recover a 1 Bitcoin loan (BTC). Bitcoin was recognized by the lower court as having value, scarcity, and disposability, making it subject to property rights and satisfying the criteria of virtual property.

The Shanghai Baoshan District People’s Court found in favor of plaintiff Cheng Mou, ordering defendant Shi Moumou to return the Bitcoin, according to the Sina website. The matter was returned to the court when the defendant failed to do so, and a mediation was place in May 2021. The parties agreed that the defendant would make compensation at a discount from the value of the Bitcoin at the time of the loan since the defendant no longer had control of the Bitcoin.

Since Bitcoin trading is prohibited in China, no current value for the lent Bitcoin could be determined. According to the journal, the issue was further complicated by the inability of court investigation and enforcement officials to inquire about virtual property.

In 2017, China started clamping down on cryptocurrency trade and intensified its operations. The government has been systematically disconnecting bitcoin miners from the electricity grid, as well as KV against cryptocurrency marketplaces. Since then, it has shifted its focus to “NFT-related unlawful financial operations.”

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At the same time, China has become the first country in the world to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Despite Covid regulations, the digital yuan received its first broad deployment during the Beijing Winter Olympics.

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