A court in Shanghai, China, has reportedly ruled that bitcoin is an asset protected by Chinese law during a case that has dragged on for years. The case involves a theft of two different cryptocurrencies, one being bitcoin, from an American. The defendants argued that bitcoin wasn’t recognized under Chinese law; the court disagreed, citing documents by the financial institution , the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

In China, Bitcoin Is Asset Protected by Law

Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court has reportedly ruled on a bitcoin case that has dragged on for multiple years, Chinese media reported on Thursday. The case involved three Chinese and a Malaysian who broke into the house of an American and his Chinese wife on the night of June 12, 2018, East China daily media Shine detailed. After locking the couple and beating them, the intruders forced them to transfer 18.88 bitcoins and 6,466 skycoins to their account.

The first hearing of this case found that there was an economic dispute and therefore the perpetrators were sentenced to prison for 6 and a half months to eight months. The defendants agreed to offer all the skycoins back but not bitcoins, arguing that cryptocurrencies weren’t assets under Chinese law therefore the couple didn’t have the proper to demand them back. The court disagreed and ordered them to return all the cryptocurrencies they took from the couple or pay them what the coins were worth. When the couple received neither the bitcoins nor the equivalent funds, they filed a lawsuit.

The four defendants appealed, reiterating that cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and skycoin, weren’t legal property under Chinese law. However, Shine news outlet reported on Thursday that the Shanghai court has ordered them to return the coins, adding:

The court found bitcoin to be a digital asset that ought to be protected by law.

Liu Jiang, the chief judge within the case, explained that the documents released by the financial institution , the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), haven’t denied bitcoin as an asset and therefore the laws in China don’t prohibit citizens from holding them.

Several other Chinese courts have made an identical ruling on cryptocurrency. for instance , the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration recognized cryptocurrencies during a case involving 20 bitcoins, 50 bitcoin cash, and 13 bitcoin diamond in 2018. Last year, the Hangzhou Internet Court also legally recognized bitcoin. Recently, the Shenzhen Futian District People’s Court in Guangdong declared ethereum legal property in China.

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