As a virtual commodity, Bitcoin (BTC) cannot be protected by Chinese law, a court in Fujian Province reportedly ruled on May 13th.
The Fujian court dismisses a Bitcoin-related lawsuit
According to the Fujian Rule of Law News, the court was investigating a lawsuit involving an investment in a “Bitcoin-themed club”. The plaintiff, named Liao, reportedly invested 500,000 yuan (US $ 70,500) in this club. His expectation was that high returns would follow.
After receiving none of his funds back, Liao sued the operator of the said Bitcoin club. The Changting People’s Court then ruled that Bitcoin did not come under its jurisdiction because it was a virtual commodity. The lawsuit was then dismissed.
Other Chinese courts have previously classified Bitcoin as digital property
Interestingly, the latest ruling appears to contradict previous reports from China. Earlier this month, the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Bitcoin is a digital asset and should therefore be protected by law.
The case was initiated by an international couple in Shanghai, Pete and Xiaoli Wang, who were robbed from their home by four people in 2018. The attackers forced Pete and Xiaoli to transfer their cryptocurrency savings held in BTC and Skycoin to their wallets.
The court ordered the robbers to return the same cryptocurrency or pay their victims in yuan based on the BTC and Skycoin price as of June 12, 2018. The burglars appealed the verdict, arguing that “current Chinese laws limit the ownership characteristics of Bitcoin and Skycoin.”
The court has since ordered the attackers to return the couple’s 18.88 BTC. The thieves never returned the couple’s stolen Skycoins.
In July 2019, the Hangzhou Internet Court also ruled that Bitcoin should be considered digital property, although the experts surveyed by Cointelegraph at the time were skeptical of calling it a regulatory thaw.