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Author Topic: Bitcoin in France: first legal decision directly related to Bitcoin?  (Read 57422 times)
bitcoinhead
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September 13, 2011, 10:11:17 PM
 #161

I'd argue that bitcoins ARE something, and can have legal standing.

My analogy is that digital certificates, and their public/private keypairs are something, and can be used for legally binding electronic signatures in various jurisdictions.  Therefore if an electronic document signed with a private key can be a legally binding contract, then a bitcoin value and block, signed with a private key, can just as easily be a legal currency and form of monetary exchange.

Thoughts?
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September 13, 2011, 11:47:14 PM
 #162

I'd argue that bitcoins ARE something, and can have legal standing.

I won't argue strongly against you, but your analogy is not entire parallel. The key pairs are not the bitcoins. The transactions are not the bitcoins. Bitcoins are an idea by consensus. What we are signing is "I send 50 bitcoins". I can say "I send you a postcard" but those are only words. The postcard might exist. The bitcoins don't. On the other hand, law seems to accept "intellectual property" as a thing with defensible and transferable ownership. I happen to disagree.

To me, it's a bit like playing tea with the stuffed animals. I can claim to pour some tea into your cup, and you can accept that I've done that, but it's all just imaginary.

EDIT: "legally binding contract" - ah yeah, OK. I hear what you are saying. But I don't think the bitcoins are the contract. The contract is "I promise to perform a series of actions that will result in a network agreeing to verify that I've performed those actions, in exchange for your pogs". If you deliver the pogs and I fail to perform the actions, then I'm acting fraudulently. I still hold that bitcoins don't exist any more than a blown kiss, whether signed or not.

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September 14, 2011, 01:16:44 AM
 #163

that is last news but in french of course

Audience du 13 septembre 2011 à 14h00.

Après discussion, aucun juge rapporteur ne sera désigné.

L'affaire sera jugée directement en audience publique collégiale (3 juges) le 18 octobre 2011 à 10h00 au Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (immeuble Pascal accessible par le parking du centre commercial "créteil soleil").

La décision interviendra plus tard, environ 4 semaines habituellement (la rédaction du l'acte de justice prend du temps).

Translated on Google:

After discussion, no judge rapporteur will be appointed.

The case will be heard directly in open court judges (three judges) October 18, 2011 at 10:00 am at the Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (Pascal building accessible from the shopping mall parking lot "Créteil Soleil").

The decision will come later, usually about four weeks (the drafting of the act of justice takes time).

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September 14, 2011, 01:23:56 AM
 #164

To me, it's a bit like playing tea with the stuffed animals. I can claim to pour some tea into your cup, and you can accept that I've done that, but it's all just imaginary.
I don't think this is much different than most monetary transactions today. While some people still pass about physical pieces of paper, probably the majority of monetary exchanges now are done as simply twiddling some bits in a computer somewhere. Credit card, debit card, bank balances, transfers etc. All are accepted because the rules for twiddling the bits is established and people trust the twiddling happens according to the rules.

I don't see a difference here: the rules encompass a distributed network where the veracity of the twiddling is verified by key signatures and the statistical math that makes a false twiddle (split of block chain) very unlikely. There is still a regime of credit/debit balancing going on.

indio007
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September 14, 2011, 01:47:07 AM
 #165

that is claim for bitcoin itself than
@nighteyes, it is not clear how you jump from what you quoted to your claim that bitcoin is illegal. Explain your logic, if any.

I was just stating the argument as I understood it. The argument likely relies on some law meaning that bitcoin its not a recognized currency.

edit: My position is that it is legal...just not legal tender.
Everything is "legal tender" as long as it is of sufficient value to support a simple contract. Legal tender means "legal offer". The US recognizes a particular form of legal tender but that recognition is not exclusive to FRN's contrary to popular belief. FRN's are not money per se.

U.S. v. Thomas 319 F.3d 640

Quote
Paper currency, in the form of the Federal Reserve Note, is defined as an "obligation[] of the United States" that may be "redeemed in lawful money on demand." 12 U.S.C. § 411 (2002). These bills are not "money" per se but promissory notes supported by the monetary reserves of the United States.
JackH
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September 14, 2011, 10:15:10 AM
 #166

I'd argue that bitcoins ARE something, and can have legal standing.

I won't argue strongly against you, but your analogy is not entire parallel. The key pairs are not the bitcoins. The transactions are not the bitcoins. Bitcoins are an idea by consensus. What we are signing is "I send 50 bitcoins". I can say "I send you a postcard" but those are only words. The postcard might exist. The bitcoins don't. On the other hand, law seems to accept "intellectual property" as a thing with defensible and transferable ownership. I happen to disagree.

To me, it's a bit like playing tea with the stuffed animals. I can claim to pour some tea into your cup, and you can accept that I've done that, but it's all just imaginary.

EDIT: "legally binding contract" - ah yeah, OK. I hear what you are saying. But I don't think the bitcoins are the contract. The contract is "I promise to perform a series of actions that will result in a network agreeing to verify that I've performed those actions, in exchange for your pogs". If you deliver the pogs and I fail to perform the actions, then I'm acting fraudulently. I still hold that bitcoins don't exist any more than a blown kiss, whether signed or not.

I quite like the playing with tea analogy of what Bitcoin is. Because it is exactly that! Imaginary, yet we give it value, which is what everything in this world is as well.
I guess the problem lies in getting people to accept a new imaginary "thing" that is even more imaginary than the paper money.

Lets hope the French courts soon have a draft for this we can look at!

<helo> funny that this proposal grows the maximum block size to 8GB, and is seen as a compromise
<helo> oh, you don't like a 20x increase? well how about 8192x increase?
<JackH> lmao
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September 16, 2011, 12:14:27 AM
 #167

So, what happened guys ?
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September 16, 2011, 12:18:19 AM
 #168

So, what happened guys ?

You have to wait until the end of October for them to make a decision.
Big Time Coin
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September 16, 2011, 06:18:05 AM
 #169

Can someone please translate from French into English:

1) Statute defining virtual currency under French law + other key statutes, well translated into english.

2) two prior legal decisions rendered by the Courts hearing the case of S.A.S. Macaraja v. C.I.C.

Professional court-certified interpreter service for this would be costly, but considering the case is upwards of 35k in Euro damages, and affects the entire community, I'm sure we would all appreciate a full translation of the court findings.  As far as I was able to get:

Original August 11, 2011 Municipal Court Decision:
http://creperso.free.fr/CIC/Ordonnance_de_refere_du_11_aout_2011.pdf

And the more lengthy August 26 Appeals Court decision:
http://creperso.free.fr/CIC/Arret_appel_26_aout_2011.pdf

After I did OCR + copypaste + translate x2:
http://pastebin.com/DT8d8Eqz

I spent some real time with this, obviously, but I can't say it's been much benefit to my understanding of the legal issues at play.


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September 16, 2011, 10:16:03 AM
 #170

Original August 11, 2011 Municipal Court Decision:
http://creperso.free.fr/CIC/Ordonnance_de_refere_du_11_aout_2011.pdf
This is an ordonnance de référé, it basically means it is an emergency ruling.

The gist :
Quote
Francis Faulhaber (the manager of the MACARAJA SAS french entity) requests that the CIC bank :
 - re-opens their bank account based on the right for every French entity or individual to benefit from a bank account with the basic financial services being and remaining free of charge, except if the account balance goes negative
 - pays a 2000 € daily amount to MACARAJA SAS until the account is re-opened
 - pays all legal fees and charges involved with MACARAJA SAS challenging the account cancellation
 - pays 32 000 € damages to MACARAJA SAS
 - pays 3000 € compensation to MACARAJA SAS
 - pays the justice fees

MSAS outlines that the CIC wrote them on may 10th to inform them that their account would be cancelled on july 15th. MSAS did not find another bank willing to open an account in the meantime, therefore the Banque de France informed the CIC on july 22 that it had been designated to be MSAS's bank and that it was to make a bank account available.

MSAS argues that the CIC bank is in possession of all the required documentation and gives the CIC the commerce intermediary contract (between MSAS and Tibanne).

The CIC argues that the bank account was closed because it suspected that the account was used to perform activites that are illegal under french law : unlicensed financial operations ("commerce de l'argent") that are reserved to licensed and audited professionnals. The CIC requests that MSAS be denied all its requests.


The ruling states :

That the bank account cancellation arose from a difference of interpretation of MSAS's activity, MSAS's arguing to be a commerce intermediary and the CIC arguing that it was in fact conducting operations that require a proper financial license.

That it is not in the emergency court's competence to rule on the nature of MSAS's activity.

That the instruction from the Banque de France is to be respected and that a subsequent ruling can be requested to actually analyze MSAS's activity nature.

That the CIC got the commerce intermediary contract between MSAS and Tibanne with its AML additional conditions, signed on may 28th (!)

That the CIC shall be responsible of paying the daily amount of 500 € until the account is opened.

That all MSAS's requests are denied.

Big Time Coin
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September 17, 2011, 07:27:41 AM
 #171

thanks for that summary.  If anyone else wants to help on this, it would be appreciated  Smiley

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October 10, 2011, 12:17:15 PM
 #172

Monthly bump. Any news?

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molecular
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October 10, 2011, 10:20:13 PM
 #173

Monthly bump. Any news?

Don't expect anything to happen before Oct. 18th:

Quote
The case will be heard directly in open court judges (three judges) October 18, 2011 at 10:00 am at the Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (Pascal building accessible from the shopping mall parking lot "Créteil Soleil".)

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October 11, 2011, 06:51:51 AM
 #174

Monthly bump. Any news?

Don't expect anything to happen before Oct. 18th:

Quote
The case will be heard directly in open court judges (three judges) October 18, 2011 at 10:00 am at the Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (Pascal building accessible from the shopping mall parking lot "Créteil Soleil".)

Is it me or they keep postponing any decision?
molecular
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October 11, 2011, 08:28:39 AM
 #175

Monthly bump. Any news?

Don't expect anything to happen before Oct. 18th:

Quote
The case will be heard directly in open court judges (three judges) October 18, 2011 at 10:00 am at the Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (Pascal building accessible from the shopping mall parking lot "Créteil Soleil".)

Is it me or they keep postponing any decision?

I think it's you. That Oct 18 quote is weeks old. If you really want to know, klick "all" pages and search for "october" Wink

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October 18, 2011, 01:30:14 PM
 #176

Any news?

>15years analysis experience

Always do your own due diligence & consult your financial advisor. Never invest unless you can afford to lose your entire investment.

http://twitter.com/BitcoinAnalyst

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October 18, 2011, 05:06:17 PM
 #177

bump..Huh

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Always do your own due diligence & consult your financial advisor. Never invest unless you can afford to lose your entire investment.

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molecular
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October 18, 2011, 07:44:20 PM
 #178

that is last news but in french of course

Audience du 13 septembre 2011 à 14h00.

Après discussion, aucun juge rapporteur ne sera désigné.

L'affaire sera jugée directement en audience publique collégiale (3 juges) le 18 octobre 2011 à 10h00 au Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (immeuble Pascal accessible par le parking du centre commercial "créteil soleil").

La décision interviendra plus tard, environ 4 semaines habituellement (la rédaction du l'acte de justice prend du temps).

Translated on Google:

After discussion, no judge rapporteur will be appointed.

The case will be heard directly in open court judges (three judges) October 18, 2011 at 10:00 am at the Tribunal de Commerce de Créteil (Pascal building accessible from the shopping mall parking lot "Créteil Soleil").

The decision will come later, usually about four weeks (the drafting of the act of justice takes time).

Does this mean we'll wait 4 more weeks? Was anyone present at that hearing? Magicaltux?

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October 18, 2011, 10:09:43 PM
 #179

Does this mean we'll wait 4 more weeks? Was anyone present at that hearing? Magicaltux?

 Update From the IRC channel today oct 18 17:05:04 PET 2011 :

(15:43) <   ThomasV> https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=41317.msg581047#msg581047
(15:43) <     Title> [ Bitcoin in France: first legal decision directly related to Bitcoin? ]
(15:48) <@MagicalTu> ThomasV: the hearing has been postponed
(15:48) <@MagicalTu> waiting for the european level decision
<@MagicalTu> on the "bitcoin exchange" activity itself
(15:49) <   ThomasV> any news release?
(15:49) <@MagicalTu> later this week
(15:49) <   ThomasV> when did you get notified that it was postponed?
(15:49) <@MagicalTu> we need to receive the postal copy of the hearing this time, and
                     have our lawyers make sure we didn't misunderstood anything
(15:50) <@MagicalTu> because we had people there
(16:34) <@MagicalTu> [22:54:47] <ThomasV> MagicalTux: what kind of decision are they  supposed to take? I mean, they cannot outlaw bitcoin without passing new laws <- they may outlaw the fact of handling bitcoins without being a bank
(16:37) <@MagicalTu> if bitcoin is ruled being a currency, it means running your bitcoin client at home equivalents of running a bank at home
(16:37) <@MagicalTu> and mining bitcoin could be seen as printing money
(16:38) <@MagicalTu> the bank in front brought prints of bitcoin.org showing that bitcoin "is a currency"
(16:38) <@MagicalTu> and other things
(16:40) <@MagicalTu> this is unlikely to happen
(16:40) <   ThomasV> why unlikely?
(16:40) <@MagicalTu> because the way a currency is defined is not how bitcoin works
(16:41) <@MagicalTu> so even if the creator & supporters labels it as a currency, it may be ruled as not being one
(16:41) <@MagicalTu> and at this point we definitely don't want bitcoin to be seen as a currency

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October 18, 2011, 10:32:45 PM
 #180

What's amusing is that the "Learn more about Bitcoins here" link on the MtGox website goes straight to Bitcoin.org where Bitcoin is indeed described as both money and a digital currency.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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