Singapore High Court recognizes cryptocurrencies as property for the first time in theft ruling

Singapore’s High Court, the lower court of the country’s highest court, has issued a ruling that, for the first time, recognized cryptocurrencies as property and granted ownership injunctions to those suspected of the theft.

In an alleged theft of bitcoin and ethereum worth an estimated total of $7 million, the court ordered two unnamed cryptocurrency exchanges to store the stolen crypto assets for the The judiciary provides material assets that can be traced.

The international law firm lawyer analyzed that the court’s ruling marks a positive development for the crypto industry, as it shows that courts in the Southeast Asian country are “ready to recognize and protect cryptocurrencies as property by granting exclusive injunctions against cryptocurrency theft, even if the perpetrators The identity is unknown.”

In addition to this, the latest ruling also shows that Singapore’s courts are ready to issue disclosure orders against cryptocurrency exchanges established or operating in the country, enabling victims of crypto asset theft or fraud to access vital information that could benefit them. Freeze and track stolen crypto assets.

Such court orders would effectively overturn the terms of any contracts between cryptocurrency exchanges and their users, lawyers said. For cryptocurrency exchanges headquartered or operating in Singapore, the decision means it is now possible to receive a disclosure order issued by a Singapore court disclosing information related to user accounts, as well as freezing crypto held in user accounts Currency ban.

In fact, Singapore has been relatively lax about crypto innovation. Singapore is emerging as a safe haven for the crypto industry as global regulators including the U.S., U.K. and China tighten regulations. Currently, Singapore has not issued licenses to cryptocurrency companies, but has temporarily granted exemptions to some large companies, allowing them to serve local retail and institutional investors. The country’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and state-owned investment firm Temasek have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the crypto space. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has made it easier for foreign cryptocurrency groups to settle and do business.

It is worth mentioning that data shows that Singapore’s investment in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry jumped more than 10 times in 2021 to a record high, cementing Singapore’s position as a crypto hub. There were 82 deals worth $1.48 billion last year, compared to $110 million in 2020. Most cryptocurrency and blockchain transactions last year were for software and underlying infrastructure, not services, the report said. Meanwhile, KPMG expects crypto investment in Singapore to remain strong this year even with increased regulation.

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