According to a recent report by the People’s Court in China, cryptocurrencies are considered legal property and protected by law in the country. This is despite the fact that China has banned all crypto-related activities and transactions since 2021.
The report analyzes the legal status and attributes of virtual assets, such as cryptocurrencies, and concludes that they have economic value and can be used as a medium of exchange or a store of value. Therefore, they fall under the category of personal property and civil rights, which are guaranteed by the Chinese constitution and civil code.
The report also suggests that crimes involving cryptocurrencies should be handled differently from those involving traditional property, as cryptocurrencies cannot be confiscated or seized by the authorities. Instead, the report proposes that civil and criminal laws should be applied separately to deal with such cases, without affecting the private rights of the owners.
The report’s findings are in contrast with the official stance of the Chinese government, which has been cracking down on crypto activities and platforms in the country. In 2021, China imposed a blanket ban on all crypto-related activities and banned foreign crypto exchanges from offering their services to mainland customers. The ban was motivated by concerns over financial risks, market stability, and environmental impact.
However, the ban has not been very effective, as many Chinese citizens and businesses have continued to use and trade cryptocurrencies through various means, such as peer-to-peer platforms, VPNs, or overseas accounts. Moreover, some Chinese courts have recognized the legal status of cryptocurrencies in previous cases, such as a 2019 ruling that affirmed Bitcoin’s ownership right.
The report’s implications are unclear, as it is not clear whether it will have any impact on existing or future regulations or policies regarding cryptocurrencies in China. However, some observers have speculated that the report may signal a change of attitude or a softening of stance by the Chinese authorities towards cryptocurrencies. Some have also suggested that China may be testing the waters for its own digital currency, which is expected to launch soon.