Cryptocurrencies as Property: Ruscoe and Moore v Cryptopia Limited (In Liquidation) [2020] NZHC 728

15 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2020

See all articles by P T Babie

P T Babie

Bonython Chair in Law and Professor of Law, Adelaide Law School, The University of Adelaide

David Brown

University of Adelaide - School of Law

Ryan Catterwell

University of Queensland; Howard Zelling Chambers

Mark Giancaspro

Adelaide Law School

Date Written: April 17, 2020

Abstract

On 8 April 2020, Gendall J, sitting in the High Court of New Zealand, decided Ruscoe and Moore v Cryptopia Limited (In Liquidation), providing the most recent and authoritative common law statement in the world on whether a cryptocurrency is property. The case provides significant guidance for any jurisdiction, common or civil, faced with determining whether cyrptocurrencies are property. This note outlines the approach taken to ‘the property question’ by Gendall J, in four parts. Part I introduces the property question. Part II provides a brief overview of blockchain and the nature of cryptocurrencies. Part III briefly recounts Gendall J’s reasons for the judgment concluding that cryptocurrencies are property. Part IV offers some brief reflections on the implications of the decision for property and for the relationship of property to contract.

Keywords: cryptocurrency, property, Ruscoe and Moore v Cryptopia Limited (In Liquidation)

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Babie, Paul T. and Brown, David and Catterwell, Ryan and Giancaspro, Mark, Cryptocurrencies as Property: Ruscoe and Moore v Cryptopia Limited (In Liquidation) [2020] NZHC 728 (April 17, 2020). U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2020-33, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3578264

Paul T. Babie (Contact Author)

Bonython Chair in Law and Professor of Law, Adelaide Law School, The University of Adelaide ( email )

Adelaide, 5005
Australia
+61 8 8313 5521 (Phone)

David Brown

University of Adelaide - School of Law ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

Ryan Catterwell

University of Queensland ( email )

Brisbane
Australia

Howard Zelling Chambers ( email )

Adelaide
Australia

Mark Giancaspro

Adelaide Law School ( email )

Ligertwood Building
Adelaide 5005, South Australia SA 5005
Australia

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