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

January 13, 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.