Hong Kong’s High Court has recognized cryptocurrency as property in a March 31 landmark ruling in a legal tussle involving defunct crypto exchange Gatecoin.

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Fast facts

  • Justice Linda Chan’s ruling concluded that crypto should be treated as property because it has value, be owned and can be transferred from one owner to another.
  • The ruling could result in stronger regulation of digital assets in Hong Kong and determine how crypto is taxed.
  • Gatecoin, which shuttered in March 2019, was ordered to stop operations and begin liquidation after it failed to recover disputed funds from a former payment services provider.
  • After its closure, Gatecoin’s liquidators sought advice from the court on whether to treat crypto held by the exchange as property held on trust or to make it available to a “general body of creditors,” according to court documents. 
  • The ruling could provide legal clarity for digital asset investors in Hong Kong and could set a precedent for future cases, according to local domestic firm Hogan Lovells.

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