You may have bitcoins in your wallet or stored on an exchange, but that does not necessarily mean these bitcoins belong to you.
Hard to grasp?
In an article from August 2019, titled “Good Title Is Not a Key,” Dr. Craig Wright wrote:
Anarchist anti-government and anti-law promoters of Bitcoin will tell you that if you don’t have your keys, you don’t have your bitcoin. Unfortunately for them, keys are not law. Private keys make access to funds difficult. They don’t prove ownership of property rights, which never was the intention of Bitcoin.
In another article from March 2020, titled “The Property Flaw of Lightning,” Dr. Craig Wright wrote:
Bitcoin tokens are property. Following the purchase of bitcoin where you haven’t met customer due diligence (CDD) and know your customer (KYC) requirements and recorded the identity of the person you’re attempting to buy from, you face a scenario where good title does not pass.
Why do I bring all of this up now? Because the reality of property rights concerning Bitcoin is unfolding right now and we can consider this a new phase “in crypto.”
Litigation law firm ONTIER LLP already offers recovery services for lost bitcoins as can be seen in their press release. Other token recovery services are also available. More services like that are to be expected. It is a growing market.
What are these token recovery services doing though? It’s basically tracing bitcoins and other digital assets for their customers and clients who have proof of ownership. Once the stolen or lost coins enter the exchange markets, they can be frozen by the exchange and returned to the owner. Or one gets a court order to actually move coins directly.
Dr. Craig Wright is on his way to recover bitcoins that he lost access to. It is happening right now.
Imagine all of this in the next few years. It may totally change the digital asset markets, as participants will pay a lot of attention to the source of bitcoins and other coins from now on. Anonymous trading will be difficult. Nobody will want to touch these coins.
Tainted coins. Criminal coins. Lost coins. Undefined coins. Risky coins.
Investors may have to reevaluate their investment thesis concerning digital assets taking token recovery services into consideration. Do they even know? Is it priced in already? I have no idea.
“Your” bitcoins may not be your bitcoins. “Your” bitcoins may move back to the owner.
For all the superficial digital asset promoters that have never thought about the legal side of things, token recovery services may sound like voodoo, necromancy and alchemy at the same time.
It is none of these though, it simply is property rights.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.