Realm of the Coin: Bitcoin and Civil Procedure

Max Raskin, a rising third year student at the New York University School of Law, discusses the future of bitcoin and civil procedure in his recent article in the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law.   The abstract of this article is below; the full article is available on SSRN.

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.

Download the full article here.