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Landmark Hong Kong Court Decision Confirms Cryptocurrencies are Property Under Law

The recent landmark decision of the Hong Kong Court of First Instance in Re Gatecoin Limited has reaffirmed that are considered to be property under Hong Kong law. This decision marks the first time that the status of cryptocurrency as property under Hong Kong law has been expressly confirmed.


The decision has significant legal implications for insolvency practitioners who may need to deal with crypto assets during insolvency proceedings. The ruling provides clarity on a number of key issues, such as how cryptocurrency assets can be transferred as property, whether security can be granted over them, and how to deal with them in the event of a breach of trust or fraud.


One of the key issues raised by the decision is whether cryptocurrency can be traced in the event of insolvency or fraud. According to the judgment, cryptocurrencies can be traced and recovered in cases of fraud or breach of trust, even if they have been pooled and are not easily identifiable as individual assets.


The ruling has implications for the trust law as well, as it confirms that cryptocurrencies can form a valid subject matter of a trust even if the beneficiaries are not able to identify the precise asset as it has been pooled with other customers’ cryptocurrencies.


Overall, the decision is significant as it provides greater clarity on the legal status of cryptocurrency under Hong Kong law, which will aid in the handling of crypto assets by insolvency practitioners. By recognizing that cryptocurrencies are property, the ruling may streamline the process of dealing with digital assets in winding-down procedures and lay a foundation for the development of relevant laws and regulations in this field.

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