Chinese Court Declares Cryptocurrencies as Legal Property

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  • A Chinese court has declared cryptocurrencies as legal property within the country’s legal framework, highlighting the ongoing divergence between the government and judiciary on the subject.
  • Despite the 2021 ban on cryptocurrencies, courts have consistently expressed varying opinions on the matter.
  • The Chinese government has taken a more lenient stance towards cryptocurrencies.

According to a recent report from a local news outlet, a Chinese court has made a significant declaration regarding cryptocurrencies. The report states that cryptocurrencies are now recognized as legal property within the country’s existing legal framework and are entitled to protection under the law. This development underscores the ongoing divergence in viewpoints between the Chinese government and the judiciary when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

The report, titled “Identification of Property Attributes of Virtual Currency and Disposal of Property Involved in Cases,” delves into the criminal law aspects related to cryptocurrencies. It argues that the economic characteristics of cryptocurrencies meet the criteria for being classified as legal property.

The report suggests that, given the unique nature of cryptocurrencies, cases involving virtual assets should be handled collectively, encompassing both criminal and civil aspects. This approach, the report contends, is essential to strike a balance between safeguarding individual property rights and serving the broader societal interests.

It’s worth noting that despite the ban on cryptocurrencies in China, the courts have consistently expressed varying opinions on the matter. In September 2022, a legal expert argued that cryptocurrency holders still enjoy legal protection in China despite the ban. Additionally, in May 2022, a Shanghai Court ruled that Bitcoin should be regarded as virtual property.

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The ban on cryptocurrencies, initiated in 2021, had a significant impact on crypto-related activities in China, a country that was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency markets. In June of that year, the People’s Bank of China instructed banks and payment platforms to cease facilitating crypto transactions.

As early as May 2021, several Chinese state institutions discouraged individuals from engaging in cryptocurrency trading, warning that the government would not provide protection to those who persisted in doing so.

However, it is noteworthy that over time, the Chinese government has taken a more lenient stance towards cryptocurrencies. Recent data showed that China’s share of Bitcoin mining rose to become the world’s second-largest, even after starting from scratch following the ban. This shift indicates a changing perspective within the Chinese authorities regarding cryptocurrencies.