A court in China has declared that Ethereum can now be considered a legal property in the country with an economic value.
Ethereum is a Legal Property
In a recent ruling, a district court in China has declared that Ethereum, a cryptocurrency, is a legal property in the country, and it has an economic value. This latest ruling follows other verdicts regarding the legality of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, by various courts across China. Although Ethereum is not considered to be a legal tender in China, people have the right to hold and transfer them in the same way as property.
The Shenzhen Futian District People’s Court in Guangdong Province, China, in its recent ruling, highlighted that Ethereum is a legal property and, as such, is protected within the Chinese law. In a report by a local news company, 8btc, the court stated that Chinese citizens are not barred from owning or transferring the digital currency, Ethereum.
The Chinese court, in its ruling, stated that “The crypto assets represented by ETH have economic value and can be traded publicly.” Interestingly, the decision of the court came to light because of a cryptocurrency theft case brought before the judge.
The theft case was regarding a blockchain engineer, Li. He worked at a company called Shenzhen Xinyijia Technology Co. Ltd. In April last year, Li took part in a project dubbed “Haode Star,” which is a joint partnership between his company and Shenzhen Haode Trade Co. Ltd., who is the plaintiff in this case. Li had the project’s private key and payment password.
Following the end of his probationary period on May 31, 2019, Li was unhappy with the situation. On June 20, he used the Haode Star project’s private key and payment password to log into Haode Trade’s account on the cryptocurrency exchange Imtoken. Li allegedly stole 2 Ether coins and 4 million Haode coins.
Furthermore, the court found out that Li stole an additional 0.4 ETH from the same account using the company credentials on July 15. After taking the ETH and Haode coins, Li transferred them to his personal trading accounts at Okex and imToken.
The transaction records provided by Haode Trade put the value of the stolen ETH coins at above 6,000 Chinese yuan ($846). Li has reportedly returned all the Haode coins and the 0.4 ETH he took from the project. He was asked to pay the plaintiff 5,536.99 yuan and was also sentenced to seven months in prison after being asked to pay a fine of 2,000 yuan.
Chinese Courts Already Consider Cryptocurrencies as Legal Properties
This is not the first time a Chinese court is ruling that cryptocurrencies are legal properties. Two years ago, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration positively ruled to protect an “equity transfer agreement” involving Bitcoin, BCH, and Bitcoin Diamond (BCD). Also in 2018, the Shanghai Hongkou District Court ruled that Ether was a property that is legally protected by Chinese law
Although China does not currently acknowledge cryptocurrencies as monetary tender, the court highlighted that they could not deny the fact that Ether and other cryptocurrencies should be protected by law as a general property.