Dutch Court Finds Bitcoin A Legitimate “Transferable Value”

A Dutch court classifies Bitcoin as a “transferable value” after the court ruled in favour of a plaintiff who was owed 0.591 Bitcoins (BTC), according to a court document published March 20.  

The claim was filed in a Dutch court by Mr. J.W. de Vries on 2 February 2018 against Koinz Trading BV, a non-public company, which was previously ordered by a lower court of Midden-Nederland to pay mining proceeds in the amount of 0.591 BTC owed to the petitioner, or a penalty payment up to a €10,000 maximum.

As a consequence of the company’s failure to comply with its obligations to pay the required volume in BTC, the court ordered that the company either pay up or be declared insolvent.

The court judgement explicitly states that Bitcoin demonstrates all the characteristics of a “property right”, and hence a claim to transfer BTC under property rights is legitimate:

“Bitcoin exists, according to the court, from a unique, digitally encrypted series of numbers and letters stored on the hard drive of the right-holder’s computer. Bitcoin is ‘delivered’ by sending bitcoins from one wallet to another wallet. Bitcoins are stand-alone value files, which are delivered directly to the payee by the payer in the event of a payment. It follows that a Bitcoin represents a value and is transferable. In the court’s view, it thus shows characteristics of a property right. A claim for payment in Bitcoin is therefore to be regarded as a claim that qualifies for verification.”

The court found that there was an undisputed contract between Mr. Vries and Koinz Trading BV: since the obligations were taken in BTC, the amount should also be paid back with the same currency. The court considers the legal relationship as a civil obligation to pay. 

While the Dutch court may be making gradual steps toward crypto being recognized as a currency, other organizations do not recognize it as such. The G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a document March 20, in which it is implied that the FSB considers cryptocurrency to be assets, rather than currency. The document claims that cryptocurrencies, “lack the traits of sovereign currencies.”

Last month, Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said that, "It [cryptocurrency] has pretty much failed thus far on... the traditional aspects of money. It is not a store of value because it is all over the map. Nobody uses it as a medium of exchange."