We don’t know whether the Japanese consider the money in their bank accounts as their property or not, but the Japanese court doesn’t really think so. According to a recent ruling by Tokyo’s district court, victims of the Mt Gox fraud can’t claim for compensation under the Japanese law as bitcoin doesn’t count as property.
The ruling was passed by Judge Masumi Kurachi has caught everyone by surprise. Judge Masumi Kurachi was hearing a case filed by an anonymous individual. The individual allegedly had about 458 bitcoins in the Mt Gox account and the person(s) is claiming for compensation. The Judge’s reasoning and selective interpretation of the law contradicts the views of many countries in the world regarding bitcoin. As bitcoin continues to play a significant role in the world’s economy, many countries now consider bitcoin to be on par with other currencies.
The Judge allegedly refused to treat bitcoin as a traditional currency and dismissed the case. According to reports from the Japanese news media, the Judge was quoted saying that the Civil Code envisages proprietorship for tangible entities that occupy space and allows for exclusive control over them. He said that it is evident that bitcoin doesn’t possess any of those qualities and also it can’t be considered to be exclusively controlled as transactions are channeled through a third party.
However, it seems like the Judge overlooked the fact that his definition of bitcoin could be applied verbatim for fiat currency too. After all its just numbers and codes that are transferred when someone initiates a wire transfer through a bank. Also banking network will be the third party involved.
The ruling comes at the time when the investigations into Mark Karpeles’ role in Mt Gox incidence are underway. But this won’t be the end of it as there are many people who have lost bitcoins due to Mt Gox incidence and depending upon Mark Karpeles’ role in the downfall of the exchange.