Re Cryptopia Ltd [2020] NZHC 728, a judgment of the New Zealand High Court, was released on 8 April 2020. This may be the first fully contested case in the Commonwealth to consider whether cryptocurrencies are property at common law.

Gendall J confirmed that cryptocurrencies are property, and he went on to hold that the New Zealand-based exchange, Cryptopia, was a trustee for account holders of the currency on its exchange platform. In doing so, the Judge distinguished the decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal in Quoine v B2C2 Ltd, decided in February. Cryptopia, before it went into liquidation in February 2019 following a hack, boasted it hosted more currencies, some 900 types, than any other cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Peter Watts QC was appointed by the Court to argue the case for the approximately 860,000, now successful, account holders.

The judgment is available here.