A Bit-ter Divorce: Using Bitcoin to Hide Marital Assets

Download Full Text PDF

Volume 16, Online Edition (Jan 2015)

Equitable distribution is the process of dividing marital property fairly upon divorce. The confusion surrounding the categorization of Bitcoin, a type of virtual currency that can be obtained and transferred anonymously, frustrates courts’ ability to properly value divorcing parties’ assets and determine a fair distribution of marital property. This Recent Development argues that North Carolina should clearly define Bitcoin as a security. First, a clear categorization of Bitcoin will notify parties that Bitcoin is a reportable asset for equitable distribution proceedings. Second, recognizing Bitcoin as a security may subject Bitcoin to increased securities regulations. Increased regulation allows for better reporting of Bitcoin transactions, which will help courts and divorcing parties discover and value bitcoins. Courts that correctly understand the value of each party’s assets will be better able to determine a truly equitable distribution of property.

Caline Hou, A Bit-ter Divorce: Using Bitcoin to Hide Marital Assets 16 N.C. J.L. & Tech. On. 74 (2014), available at http://ncjolt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Hou_Final.pdf

The North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology has adopted the Open Access Program, a part of the Scholar’s Copyright Project created by Science Commons. Authors designate the conditions under which their articles are licensed. By downloading articles, you agree to comply with the license terms specified. Please contact NC JOLT at eic.ncjolt@gmail.com with permissions inquiries.