Singapore Court Declares Crypto as Property in Bybit Case

Lavina Daryanani

The Singapore High Court recently deemed crypto as property in a case involving Bybit. The judgment also asserted that this asset class is capable of being held on trust as a “subject matter.”

Also Read: UAE: Crypto Exchange Rain Receives Brokerage, Custody Approval

Tether is capable of being held on trust: Judge

The official case summary document pointed out that general recognition had been given to crypto as property “in the Rules of Court.” The judge highlighted that according to Order 22 of the 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.”

As far as the case background is concerned, Bybit filed a case against Ho Kai Xin. The plaintiff contended that Ho breached the employment contract, and abused her position to transfer over 4.2 million USDT to an address “secretly” owned and controlled by her. Ho pointed fingers at her cousin, Jason Teo, for stealing the assets from ByBit without her knowledge. She claimed that only he owned and controlled the addresses.

Bybit demanded a declaration that Ho held both the USDT and the fiat currency on trust for ByBit. In fact, the plaintiff also requested the court to order her to return the proceeds. Judge Philip Jeyaretnam ruled,

Like any other thing in action, USDT is capable of being held on trust.

Based on the Balance of Probability standard, the Judge also ruled that Jason “does not exist” and “did not play the role asserted” by Ho. Jeyaretnam further noted that she took advantage of her employment with WeChain, a Singapore-based company providing payroll services for ByBit and related entities. He added,

“Ho manipulated the Cryptocurrency Excel Files to steal the Crypto Asset and the Fiat Asset. The evidence is indeed compelling that Ms. Ho fraudulently transferred the Crypto Asset and the Fiat Asset to herself.”

Consequentially, the judge ordered Ho to transfer back the assets to Bybit.

Also Read: Financial System Strips Middle Class of Their Assets: Robert Kennedy Jr