Singapore High Court Proclaims Cryptocurrency as Property in a ByBit Case

Singaporean Judge Philip Jeyaretnam proclaimed that cryptocurrency is a property and ordered Ho Kai Xin to return the asset to Bybit.

On July 25, a Singaporean High Court ruled out that cryptocurrency is a property able to hold be held in trust. It ordered Ho Kai Xin to transfer the assets back to the ByBit crypto exchange.

Cryptocurrency as a Legal Form of Payment

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies considered as an alternative form of payment utilising encryption algorithms. Using such technology allows cryptocurrencies to serve as currency and a virtual accounting system. A user must have a cryptocurrency wallet to use this digital asset.

Singaporean Judge Philip Jeyaretnam affirmed on Tuesday that cryptocurrency is a property accepted by the common law as “chose in action” or a “thing in action.” It means a right to reclaim money or other personal property through a judicial proceeding.

What is ByBit?

ByBit is a cryptocurrency centralized exchange (CEX) and provides a professional platform showcasing an expeditious matching engine. It also offers quality customer service, including multilingual community support for crypto traders of all levels.

Ben Zhou is the founder and CEO of ByBit, which launched in 2018. The company also provides advanced online spot and derivatives trading services, mining and staking
products, and more. Zhou came from XM, one of the world’s biggest forex and CFD trading brokerage company. It consists of the forex industry, investment banks, professionals from tech firms, and early adopters of blockchain.

Breaching of Terms in ByBit Case

Singaporean High Court ruled that contractor, Ho Kai Xin must transfer the assets back to ByBit. The exchange company charged Ho with corrupting her position with the company by fraudulently transferring over $4.2 million to crypto addresses discreetly. It also includes sending fiat currency to her bank account.

The digital currency exchange filed a case against Ho, asking for recourse for her to hold the funds in trust for the exchange. It also requested a summary order to recover the funds or receive remuneration in equivalent.

Judge Jeyaretnam reached his decision based on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s public consultation response. He stressed the amendments proposed in the consultation paper reveal that it’s probable in practice to verify and separate such digital assets and uphold the view it must be lawfully possible to hold them on trust.

“My conclusion is therefore that the holder of a crypto asset has in principle an incorporeal right of property recognisable by the common law as a thing in action and so enforceable in court,” said Judge Jeyaretnam.

He added that Order 22 of the Rules of Court 2021 recognise cryptocurrency as property. The court awarded the decision to ByBit and granted the requested relief. It ordered Ho to return the assets to ByBit.

Ho, on the other hand, reproached his cousin Jason Teo for pilfering the assets from ByBit without her knowing it. She claimed her cousin owned and controlled those cryptocurrency wallet addresses.

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