Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.
Chinese man’s $10M loss as court says Bitcoin lending not protected by law
A man in China’s Jiangsu province, identified as Mr. Xu, appears to be out of luck after a court ruled that his 341 Bitcoin loan ($9.9 million) to counterparty Mr. Lin is not protected by law according to local news reports on August 3.
Some time ago, Mr. Xu lent 341 Bitcoins to Mr. Lin after the latter approached him for a peer-to-peer loan. At the time, Mr. Xu lacked fiat funds, and so the parties settled on using Bitcoin for the borrowing through a written agreement. Shortly afterward, however, Mr. Lin defaulted on the loan, prompting Mr. Xu to sue in the Changzhou Zhonglou People’s Court. The case was dismissed.
Chinese magistrate Ming Wang explains why the Bitcoin lending contract was invalid and therefore denied relief for breach of contract. (Screenshot)
In supporting the judgment, Ming Wang, vice-magistrate of the Changzhou Zhonglou People’s Court, told reporters that Bitcoin is a digital commodity that does not hold the same legal status as fiat currencies. Therefore, the asset can neither be subject to a legal enforcement action, enter circulation, or be used to ” award compensation.”
“The lender bears ALL risks [when lending crypto],” Wang warned. That said, in another ruling dated Nov. 29, the Hangzhou Internet Court wrote that digital assets such as nonfungible tokens are “online virtual property” that should be protected under Chinese law.
Aside from outright ownership, all forms of cryptocurrencies and transactions are currently illegal in China. The country has been cracking down on private blockchain initiatives in favor of the Central Government’s efforts to promote centralized blockchain, such as via the digital yuan CBDC.
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