In this recently published Perkins Coie whitepaper, the authors analyze the treatment of bitcoin under applicable U.S. property law. The authors conclude that property interests should exist in bitcoin under such law, and that multiple sources of persuasive authority provide additional support for that conclusion. The paper is divided into 5 parts:
- Treatment of bitcoin under U.S. state property law — an illustrative analysis using California law
- Scholarly consideration of bitcoin ownership rights under property law generally
- Treatment of bitcoin as property under other U.S. legal regimes
- Possible challenges to treating bitcoin as property
- Property interest in bitcoins held in custody
Each part offers an in-depth analysis of legal issues. For example, under the discussion of property interests in bitcoins held in custody, the authors discuss the differences between specific and general deposits and how these concepts could be applied to deposited bitcoin in a custodial arrangement.