BitProperty and Commercial Credit

57 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2016 Last revised: 14 Jun 2017

Date Written: March 24, 2017


In the past several years the growth of virtual property in today’s economy has been explosive. The everyday use of virtual assets ranging from Twitter and Facebook to YouTube and virtual world accounts is nearly absolute. Indeed, by one account Americans check social media over 17 times per day. Further, a growing number of savvy virtual entrepreneurs are reporting incomes in the six and seven figure range, derived solely from their online businesses. Nevertheless, although the commercial world has come to embrace these newfound markets, commercial law has done a poor job of keeping up. Scholars have argued that laws governing everything from taxation, to bankruptcy, to privacy rights have not kept pace with our ever-changing virtual world. And nowhere is this truer than in the law of secured credit. Doubtlessly virtual property has come to represent significant wealth and importance, yet its value as a source of leveraged capital remains, in large part, untapped. This unrealized potential is not without good reason; the law — specifically Article 9 of the UCC and the law of property more broadly — suffers from a number of deficiencies and anomalies that make the use of virtual property in secured credit transactions not only overly complex and expensive, but almost entirely untenable. This Article shines light on these shortcomings, and, in doing so, advances a number of guiding principles and specific legislative recommendations, all geared toward a reformation of the law of secured credit in virtual property.

Keywords: Digital Property, Virtual Assets, Real Property, Real Estate, Personal Property, Secured Lending, Secured Credit, UCC 9, Uniform Commercial Code, Article 9, Bitcoin, SecondLife, Youtube, social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Virtual Worlds, General Intangibles, Leveraged Capital, Lending

Suggested Citation

Odinet, Christopher K., BitProperty and Commercial Credit (March 24, 2017). Washington University Law Review, Vol. 94, No. 649, 2017, Available at SSRN: or

Christopher K. Odinet (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

130 Byington Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

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