The Singapore High Court recently determined that cryptocurrency is a form of property and can be held on trust, in a case involving the trading platform Bybit. Recognition of crypto as property had already been given in the Rules of Court and according to Order 22 of these Rules of Court 2021, “movable property” includes “cash, debt, deposits of money, bonds, shares or other securities, membership in clubs or societies, and cryptocurrency or other digital currency”.
Bybit filed a court action against defendant Ho Kai Xin alleging that Ho breached contractual agreement respecting employment and misused her position to transfer 4.2 million USDT to an address secretly belonging to her. During the course of the proceedings Ho pointed the finger of accusation at her cousin, Jason Teo, with her maintaining he owned the addresses. Request for the defendants transfer of the appropriated crypto assets back to Bybit did followed.
Examining the evidence Judge Philip Jeyaretnam determined that the level of proof given that Jason Teo was involved, was insufficient as Judge Jeyaretnam established it was highly probable that “Jason does not exist as asserted and did not play the role allegedly asserted” by Ho and therefore, concluding based on the “balance of probability test” the defendant must repay the asset to Bybit on the basis that the illicit USDT were legally acquired and owned by the Bybit party to the case.