Property Rights for Crypto: Singapore High Court's Ruling in Bybit Case Makes History – Coinpedia Fintech News
Singapore’s High Court has made a legal recognition, declaring crypto as a property that can be held in trust. The case in question involved the Seychelles-based exchange Bybit and a contractor, Ho Kai Xin. Bybit accused Ho of breaching her employment contract by misusing her position to transfer over 4.2 million USDT (a stablecoin issued by Tether) to addresses under her control and ownership, as well as transferring fiat currency to her bank account.
Judge Philip Jeyaretnam, who presided over the case, stated that similar to any other thing in action, USDT can be held on trust. The judge’s ruling also took into account a public consultation response by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which indicated the possibility of identifying and segregating digital assets, supporting the notion of holding them in trust.
Singapore judge said crypto holder possesses an incorporeal right
The judge further acknowledged that the holder of a crypto asset possesses an incorporeal right of property, recognized under common law as a thing in action and enforceable in court. He clarified that this conclusion might seem somewhat circular, but it aligns with how the law treats other social constructs, such as money. The judge emphasized that the value of crypto assets, like any other object, is not inherent but relies on the acceptance of their exchange value by people.
Bybit sought a declaration that Ho was holding both the USDT and fiat currency on trust for the exchange. Ho, on the other hand, pointed fingers at her cousin, Jason Teo, claiming that he stole the assets from Bybit without her knowledge and that he was the one who controlled those addresses.
However, the judge accepted evidence suggesting that Jason may not exist or at least did not play the role asserted by Ms. Ho. As a result, the judge ordered Ho to return the assets to Bybit.
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