Singapore High Court has rendered a groundbreaking verdict, equating cryptocurrencies to personal property and comparing with fiat. Justice Philip Jeyaretnam, stated that, crypto, fiat, or even shells, derive their worth from the shared trust vested in them.
The litigation involved Bybit, a prominent crypto exchange, which accused its former employee, Ho Kai Xin, of crypto theft. The accusation involves orchestrating the transfer of a staggering 4.2 million USDT tokens from the platform to her private accounts.
The Singapore high court, has now reached a verdict, and ordered Ho to reimburse the funds to Bybit, Ho, in turn, claimed her non-present cousin had control over those accounts. Though the ruling might seem evident, its implications bear weight in determining the legal status of digital assets.
Singapore High Court Challenges Misconceptions about Cryptocurrencies and Real Value
Jeyaretnam’s classification of the USDT and cryptocurrencies in general as property marks a pivotal point. Despite their non-physical existence, the judge eloquently states, “We identify what is going on as a particular digital token, somewhat like how we give a name to a river even though the water contained within its banks is constantly changing.”
Furthermore, he refutes the common misconception that cryptocurrencies lack “real” value. He also emphasizes that value is a collective assessment forged by the human intellect.
The judge categorizes crypto under the realm of “things in action,” a term rooted in British common law, signifying a form of property over which personal rights can be asserted or enforced through legal means rather than physical possession.
In essence, this precedent-setting ruling marks a milestone in the legal recognition of digital assets, reaffirming their standing as property with inherent worth, validated by the faith and consensus of a digital society.