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‘Who Moved My 38.748 BCH?’ The First Lawsuit in China Initiated By a Bitcoin Fork

A crypto investor recently brought a lawsuit against the crypto exchange OKCoin for a bitcoin fork in the Beijing court. It is the first lawsuit related to a bitcoin fork in the country, according to Legal Weekly.

The plaintiff claimed the equivalent amount of bitcoin cash (BCH) that forked from the 38.748 bitcoins (BTC) he deposited in OKCoin was invalid for the reason that the forked coins were not claimed in time; as a result, he lost the timing to cash out for BCH at highs. Therefore he requested OKCoin to compensate for the loss of 169,969.22 yuan (US$25,000) in total.

As public information indicates, on 1 August 2017, a hard fork of bitcoin was created, and there came bitcoin cash. As a result, the bitcoin ledger and the cryptocurrency split in two – Bitcoin and bitcoin cash. As promised in the announcement of OKCoin, at the time of the fork users holding bitcoin in the platform was also in possession of the same amount of bitcoin cash units.

However, the plaintiff named Feng Bin (not his real name) who should have owned 38.748 BCH on OKCoin failed to have the “pennies from heaven”.

In early December 2017 when Feng attempted to claim it, he found the access had been invalid and failed to get the promised BCH (roughly US$40,000 in total calculated by the price in November).

Reply from OKCoin read, “The claim ‘button’ was a program that automatically executed BCH input to user’s account. You cannot claim BCH any more as the program has been removed from our platform. If you didn’t withdraw it at that time, it will be impossible to make later withdrawal.”

That the exchange gave no specific claiming deadline given rise to the dispute.

Feng said “as OKCoin’s announcement indicated ‘once it is claimed, the BCH will be deposited into your account’, he did not rush to have it deposited in his account as he was afraid the increase of account balance might increase the risk of his account being hacked, in addition, the exchange did not give a deadline”.

In the lawsuit, OKCoin questioned whether the plaintiff was qualified to own the BCH as he only showed the evidence of his BTC holding on the date of January 12, 2017 instead of August 2017. Considering the great fluctuations of bitcoin price in 2017, OKCoin believed it was abnormal for an account having no transactions in a whole year.

The case has not concluded a verdict yet. It is in fact quite a tough case for local regulator as bitcoin trading has been banned in the country since last September. Prior to it, Beijing court has rejected a 52 BTC compensation lawsuit against Huobi for futures trading.

Rising disputes reveal the troubled reality of the unregulated crypto transaction.


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