Despite resistance from banks and financial institutions, Bitcoin continues to garner recognition from the general public and some of the law enforcement authorities. The decree passed by a Dutch court in a case involving JW de Vries and Koinz Trading BV may become a point of reference for other courts in the country and even in Europe to follow when it comes to financial disputes involving Bitcoin.
JW de Vries approached the Dutch court on February 2, 2018, when the mining company Koinz Trading BV failed to pay the mining proceeds of 0.591 BTC to the former. Vries had earlier won the case in a lower court, which had ordered Koinz Trading to either pay 0.591 BTC or risk paying a fine of €10,000.
The Dutch court has now upheld the lower court’s judgement. While passing the judgement in favor of Vries, the Dutch court said that Bitcoin is a “transferable value” and has all the characteristics of a property value. Therefore, according to the court, the petitioner’s claim of BTC, which was owed by Koinz Trading, under property rights is valid. The court has also ordered the mining company to either pay Vries or declare bankrupt.
The court stated
“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”
The Dutch court has also pointed out that an undisputed contract exists between Vries and Koinz Trading. Since the undertaking was made in Bitcoin, according to the court, the payment should also be made in Bitcoin. The court also qualified the contract as a civil obligation to pay.
The Dutch court also highlighted article 1,2,4,6 and 14 of the Bankruptch Act and said
“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-fulfillment 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.”
In the future, the judgement could be certainly used by other courts in the country to resolve Bitcoin related financial disputes between parties.