Specifically, for the Nanterre Commercial Court (France), bitcoin is an intangible asset with an exchange value. This is an important ruling, which will facilitate exchanges with bitcoin and ensure better market liquidity.
Court decisions regarding cryptocurrencies are so rare that they always attract great attention in public opinion.
The ruling of the Nanterre Commercial Court on February 26, revealed by the electronic newspaper Agefi, was shocking because it was the first ruling in France on this issue, especially when outside the normal court case.
First of all, it allows assessing the legal nature of bitcoin, the most famous and oldest cryptocurrency.
The Nanterre Commercial Court regards bitcoin as an intangible asset with an exchange value, meaning a commodity that is interchangeable but cannot be personalized, like fiat money.
According to Hubert de Vauplane, a lawyer for Kramer & Levin, the scope of this decision is important because it allows bitcoin to be treated like currency or other financial instruments.
As a result, it will facilitate bitcoin transactions, such as lending or selling and repurchasing, which are currently growing and favoring the liquidity of the cryptocurrency market.
The decision was made in the context of a dispute between French exchange Paymium and investment company that replaced UK BitSpread.
Paymium lent BitSpread 1,000 bitcoins in 2014, before bitcoin's hard fork in 2017, creating a new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash at one on one.
The reason for the dispute is whether or not to pay the creditors of Bitcoin Cash.
To answer this question, the Court considered the legal nature of bitcoin. The Enterprise Development Law provides a general definition of new digital currencies.
Once judges have considered bitcoin an exchangeable asset, lending of bitcoin is a “consumer loan” but not a consumer credit, meaning that the ownership of the property is transferred to the person. Borrowing within the loan's term.
And so, bitcoin cash belongs to the borrower, just like dividends belong to shareholders, according to the Court.
Some cryptocurrency players disagree with this analysis and consider the bitcoin split as value destruction.
Currently, bitcoin costs more than $ 8,800, while bitcoin cash is around $ 330. One thing is for sure, from now on, all loan contracts will be accompanied by a repayment term to the creditor in case of separation.
The legal story between debtor and creditor, before and after the split of cryptocurrencies, promises big legal battles.