As a virtual commodity, Bitcoin (BTC) cannot be protected by the Chinese law, a court in Fujian province reportedly ruled on May 13.
Fujian court dismisses a Bitcoin-related lawsuit
According to Fujian Rule of Law News, the court was considering a dispute involving an investment to a “Bitcoin-themed club”. The plaintiff, named Liao, allegedly invested 500,000 yuan ($70,500) in this club. His expectation was that high returns would follow.
After failing to receive any of his funds back, Liao sued the operator of said Bitcoin club. The Changting People's Court then ruled that because Bitcoin is a virtual commodity, it does not fall under its jurisdiction. The lawsuit was dismissed as a result.
Other Chinese courts deemed Bitcoin a digital property before
Interestingly, the recent ruling seems 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 therefore should be protected by the law.
The case was initiated by an international married couple in Shanghai, Pete and Xiaoli Wang, who were robbed at their apartment 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 from June 12, 2018. The burglars appealed the ruling, arguing that “the current Chinese laws do not recognize the property attributes 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 interviewed by Cointelegraph at the time were skeptical to call it a regulatory thaw.