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France: is Bitcoin a currency?

In France, several newspapers reported that a court of law has compared bitcoin to fiat currency

The issue is complex and originates from an actual ruling of the Commercial Court of Nanterre that expressly classified a bitcoin loan as a consumer loan

Some people deduced from this ruling that the court had in fact compared bitcoin to the euro, which is the currency in which loans are made in France, but on closer inspection, the issue is more complex. 

What is certain is that on February 26th, the above ruling classified a bitcoin loan as a consumer loan according to Article 1892 of the French Civil Code, considering bitcoin as an intangible, fungible and consumable asset

A judge interviewed by the journalist who published the news added that this definition places Bitcoin as a currency of legal tender, “even if it is not legal tender”.

In the light of these latter statements, some newspapers have echoed the news saying that the court had compared bitcoin to fiat currencies. 

The truth is that the court did not, and actually did not really address the alleged monetary nature of bitcoin, not least because it would not have the power to rule on it. 

The ruling, however, has opened a discussion that is full of legal quibbles, which nonetheless also address the issue of the alleged monetary nature of bitcoin

The question is linked to the fact that the judges have considered bitcoin to all intents and purposes as a “fungible asset”, i.e. just as fiat currency is, but the question is whether this is or is not sufficient to claim that this makes it a currency, or at least comparable to fiat currencies themselves. 

The fact is that a lot of other assets are fungible, such as gold or oil, so this comparison does not really seem sufficient to say that the Commercial Court of Nanterre actually compared bitcoin to the euro. 

That being said, there is still the official recognition of a French court that bitcoin in France should be considered a fungible asset, and the translation of the ruling reads as follows: 

“BTC are fungible because of the same type and quality, meaning that BTC all come from the same computer protocol and are subject to a relationship of equivalence with other BTC which allows a payment to be made under the old Article 1291 of the Civil Code, now Article 1347-1 of the same Code, which provides in its second paragraph that: “These are fungible bonds of a sum of money, even in different currencies, provided that they are convertible or have as their object a quantity of things of the same kind”. All bitcoins come from the same computer protocol”. 

A certain analogy with fiat currencies would seem to emerge in this passage. 


Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli
Born in 1975, Marco has been the first to talk about Bitcoin on YouTube in Italy. He founded ilBitcoin.news and the Facebook group" Bitcoin Italia (open and without scam) ".