Dutch Judge rules Bitcoin is a “transferable value”

A Dutch court has ordered a company to pay an individual Bitcoin that he was owed.

Mr. JW de Vries filed a petition on 2 February 2018 against Koinz Trading BV claiming that he was owed 0.591 BTC.

The court ruled in favor of  Mr. de Vries, but more significantly, the judgment classifies Bitcoin as a “transferable value.”

This ruling is a healthy sign toward seeing widespread adoption of cryptocurrency.

The private company was previously ordered by a lower court to pay the mining proceeds of 0.591 BTC owed to the petitioner or risk incurring a penalty of €10,000.

Following a failure by the company to pay the settlement in Bitcoin, the high court is now giving the company the option to either pay the outstanding BTC or be declared bankrupt.

The Dutch court judgment states that a claim to transfer the Bitcoin under property rights is valid and that BTC shows all the characteristics of a property right:

Bitcoin exists, according to the court, from a unique, digitally encrypted series of numbers and letters stored on the hard drive of the right-holder’s computer.

“Bitcoin is ‘delivered’ by sending bitcoins from one wallet to another wallet.

“Bitcoins are stand-alone value files, which are delivered directly to the payee by the payer in the event of a payment.

“It follows that a bitcoin represents a value and is transferable.

“In the court’s view, it thus shows characteristics of a property right.

“A claim for payment in Bitcoin is therefore to be regarded as a claim that qualifies for verification.”

Eye for an eye

According to the court, there was an undisputed contract between the Dutch company and Mr. Vries.

Since the original undertaking was in Bitcoin, the court ruled, the amount owed should also be paid in the cryptocurrency.

The court qualified this legal relationship as a civil obligation to pay.

The judge cited articles 1, 2, 4, 6 and 14 of the Bankruptcy Act, commenting:

“It is undisputed that it is clear that the claim that the applicant has seized has not been paid by the plaintiff.

“At the hearing, the applicant demonstrated the existence of several (aid) claims.

“From the documents submitted by the applicant, it appears that several persons have claims on the vested party that see the payment of Bitcoin or on claims for non-fulfilment of obligations under an agreement, with penalties attached in some cases.

“At the hearing, therefore, it appeared briefly that the applicant had a right of action, as well as facts and circumstances, which show that the applicant is in the position of having ceased to pay.”

The Dutch court’s ruling is undoubtedly a positive step towards the mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment on an equal level to government-issued fiat currencies.