Realm of the Coin: Bitcoin and Civil Procedure
44 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 1, 2015
Bitcoin is a private currency issued and governed by a global network of computers. Thus far, the majority of legal cases involving bitcoin have been criminal prosecutions or disputes between bitcoin companies. If bitcoin or some iteration continues to grow, courts will need to craft rules of civil jurisdiction. This paper is the first attempt to apply existing rules of civil procedure to bitcoin.
Bitcoins ought be treated as tangible property for the purposes of jurisdiction. Although they have an incorporeal form, as a practical matter, courts are able to site bitcoins to a single location and thus should do so. This allows courts to apply existing due process and comity jurisprudence.
Keywords: Bitcoin, Civil Procedure, Cryptocurrencies, Digital Currency, Intangibles, Conflict of Laws, Judgments, Silk Road, Enforcement
JEL Classification: E42, K40, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation