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This looks a lot like bearer-bonds to me. Anyone knowing ("bearing") the key and having the means to use it is effectively the owner, except that ownership can be copied because digital. Pretty dangerous...

Perhaps the legal response here should be dismissal.




The lawyer in this article asserts that "Bitcoin is most assuredly not a bearer asset or chattel, though."

It may technically have similar properties as bearer assets, but legally it's different. A bearer instrument is a document which is an explicit legal contract granting certain legal rights. A Bitcoin private key is not a document or a contract (an implicit contract as in "the system works this way, you can look at the description and everybody should know that" doesn't count), it's just some numbers, so it does not fulfil the criteria of laws about bearer assets. And if it did match these criteria, that would not be a good thing, since there are all kinds of prohibitions and restrictions on bearer assets due to their potential usage in money laundering. So while it is very similar to bearer assets regarding de facto control, it's not similar to bearer assets regarding de jure ownership.


> The lawyer in this article asserts that

Has this been tested in court? Lawyers say all kinds of things, but the set of proven-correct things they say is smaller than the set of all things they say.


The main point of this article is that there is nothing in current case law regarding the concept of cryptocurrency ownership, these questions have never been raised in courts yet, so all we can do to evaluate what's likely to happen is to apply analogies from the existing case law regarding non-crypto intangible assets, from which this article cites quite interesting cases.


I'm with you, it feels like with bitcoin, possession is 10/10ths of the law.




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