French Commerce Court Classifies Bitcoin as Currency in Recent Trial

Michael LaVere
  • A French commercial court classified bitcoin as currency in a recent ruling.
  • The ruling may have implications for bitcoin being treated like money or other financial instruments. 

A French Commerce court has classified bitcoin as currency during a recent trial. 

According to a report by French news outlet Les Echos on Mar. 5, the Commercial Court of Nanterre likened bitcoin to fiat money in a Feb. 26 ruling. The court classified bitcoin as a fungible interchangeable asset that is not individualized, putting the crypto-asset in the same category as regular fiat. 

The ruling arose from a dispute between French cryptocurrency exchange Paymium and alternative investment firm BitSpread over a 1,000 BTC loan ($9.1 million) made in 2014. Paymium, who made the loan, is disputing the 1,000 BCH held by BitSpread as a result of 2017’s hard fork. 

The court addressed the legal nature of bitcoin and defined it as a fungible asset while classifying bitcoin lending as a consumer loan. Consumer loans involve the transfer of ownership of the property to the borrower for the duration of the loan. Hubert de Vauplane, a lawyer for Kramer & Leven, explained the implications of the court’s decision, 

The scope of this decision is considerable because it allows Bitcoin to be treated like money or other financial instruments. It will therefore facilitate Bitcoin transactions, such as lending or repo transactions, which are growing, and thus favor the liquidity of the cryptocurrency market.

The court ultimately ruled the bitcoin cash belonged to BitSpread as the borrower, similar to dividends belonging to a shareholder. 

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