Singapore court says NFTs are property

Category: NTFs Regulatory

The Singapore High Court has decided that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can be considered property.

(NFT) is form of property and not merely blockchain code

In Singapore’s first written judgment regarding NFTs, Justice Lee Seiu Kin concluded that NFTs could be considered property since they capture all necessary legal requirements, such as they are distinct from each other and their owners are recognised by others.

According to media reports, back in May this year, Lee granted an injunction in order to halt any possible sale and ownership transfer of an NFT, and now, he explained this was an urgent case for injunction application.

The first such injunction granted in Asia was sought by a Singaporean citizen, Janesh Rajkumar, who wanted to repossess an NFT known as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) No. 2162 from an online entity labeled “chefpierre”, whose identity is not known according to court documents. 

The Singaporean bought the NFT in August this year for 15.99 Ether and planned to keep it. However, due to its rareness and high monetary value, he used it as collateral to borrow cryptos on one community platform. The value of 15.99 Ether at the time of writing stood at around $21,600, according to CoinMarketCap

Janesh borrowed some cryptocurrencies from a user called chefpierre in March. He didn’t have the assets needed to repay the sum right away so he allegedly kept asking for an extension of time.

However, since he was late in repaying the loan, chefpierre took ownership of BAYC No. 2162.

NFT was worth protecting

Janesh decided to repay the loan in total, but chefpierre returned the money and blocked him.

Justice Lee, therefore, said Janesh could serve court papers to chefpierre through Discord and Twitter since there were no possibilities for him to do otherwise.

Judge Lee also asserted it is “perfectly possible to have concluded a contract with someone else online, where both parties have concealed their true identities using pseudonyms”.

He also ruled that NFTs have the attributes of the property and are not merely information or code on the blockchain. 

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