Recently, a Hong Kong court ruled that cryptocurrency is considered property and can be held on trust. This decision, which involved the now-defunct crypto exchange Gatecoin, has significant implications for the crypto industry, particularly in terms of regulation and asset classification.

According to CoinDesk, the ruling was made by Justice Linda Chan, who stated that Hong Kong’s definition of “property” is broad and intended to have a wide meaning. This ruling is in line with similar decisions in Mainland China and the US, where the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats crypto as property for tax purposes. Moreover, a government-funded law commission in the UK has determined that crypto can be classified as a new type of property under existing laws in England and Wales.

In 2019, Gatecoin announced that it would shut down and begin liquidation after attempting to recover disputed funds from a former payment services provider. The liquidators sought guidance from the court on how to treat the crypto held by Gatecoin, which amounted to over 140 million Hong Kong dollars ($17.8 million) in October 2022.


While the court found that cryptocurrencies can form the subject matter of a trust, it determined that a trust had not been established in this particular case. This ruling provides greater clarity for Hong Kong liquidators on how to treat crypto assets held by companies during wind-down procedures.

As Hong Kong continues to push for clearer regulations in the crypto sector, brokerage firm Bernstein has noted that the jurisdiction’s approach to regulating crypto could attract capital amid global regulatory uncertainty.


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