Posts tagged "Bitcoin"

Bitcoin: What's its Worth in Court?

The price of Bitcoin has recently skyrocketed, rising from $1200 per Bitcoin in the second quarter of 2017 to $ 10,000 per Bitcoin in 2018. However, the law has not kept pace: critical questions remain regarding how Bitcoin should be valued. For example, if Bitcoin is fraudulently transferred, how should damages be calculated? In February 2016, in the first case of its kind, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California held that, for the purpose of the fraudulent transfer provisions of the U.S. bankruptcy code, Bitcoins are not the equivalent of United States dollars. However, the court left open whether Bitcoin should be valued as a currency or a commodity.

Bitcoin: What's its Worth in Court?

The price of Bitcoin has recently skyrocketed, rising from $1200 per Bitcoin in the second quarter of 2017 to $ 10,000 per Bitcoin in 2018. However, the law has not kept pace: critical questions remain regarding how Bitcoin should be valued. For example, if Bitcoin is fraudulently transferred, how should damages be calculated? In February 2016, in the first case of its kind, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California held that, for the purpose of the fraudulent transfer provisions of the U.S. bankruptcy code, Bitcoins are not the equivalent of United States dollars. However, the court left open whether Bitcoin should be valued as a currency or a commodity.

Recent Developments in the Rapidly Changing Bitcoin Market

On February 27, 2014, Fitch Law Partners LLP posted a blog article regarding the volatile market for Bitcoin and the rapid rise of the cryptocurrency over the past two-three years. Over the past month, there have been several important new developments.

A Primer on Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a relatively new 'cryptocurrency' in which in which encryption technology enables consumers and businesses to exchange goods for currency over the Internet without having to rely on the element of trust in order to ensure payment. Users buy Bitcoins and load them onto a virtual wallet, which they can then use to transfer Bitcoins instantly and anonymously to other users anywhere in the world. As such, there are significant cost savings and efficiency benefits associated with the use of Bitcoin as a method of currency. As Venture Capitalist Marc Andreessen explained on the New York Times' Dealbook, "Bitcoin is the first Internetwide payment system where transactions either happen with no fees or very low fees (down to fractions of pennies)."(1) Many vendors are starting to consider Bitcoin part to combat the large fees charged by credit card companies which cut into sales margins. However, no central bank exists to regulate Bitcoin, and it entirely relies on peer-to-peer transactions and largely unregulated exchanges.

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