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Bitcoin and Bribery

2018-10-17 13:44 Wednesday

In recent years, commercial bribery has grown in prevalence due to new digital and internet finance models. Bitcoin is sometimes even mandated as the form of payment in a commercial contract.


Is Giving Bitcoin Bribery Under Chinese Law?

Bitcoin is a kind of digital currency, which functions as a collection of data, and is based on blockchain technology.

It's hard to define Bitcoin according to the law, because its legal status is murky . A Supreme People's Court judicial explanation states that illegally obtaining computer information system data with uncertain legal attributes   is a category of behavior for which it is difficult to make a judicial determination. Furthermore, the explanation notes that Bitcoin's circulation and prices are not directly related to prices in real society, making it challenging to apply scientific and reasonable pricing methods.

Some experts suggest that the crime of illegally obtaining computer information system data, referring to the criminal law amendment (Ⅶ), applies to Bitcoin. The line of thinking would definitely resolve the legal status of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which was alluded to in the judicial explanation.

Commercial bribery in China is defined as the following eight behaviors:

(1) Accepting bribes from non-public employees;

(2) Offering bribes to non-public employees;

(3) Accepting bribes;

(4) Accepting bribes on behalf of a work unit/organization;

(5) Offering bribes;

(6) Offering bribes on behalf of a work unit/organization;

(7) Facilitating bribes;

(8) Facilitating bribes through a work unit/organization.

From the definitions above, it is clear that asking for Bitcoin falls under the category of accepting bribes from a non-public employee. Although the legal attributes of Bitcoin remain unclear and the law is difficult to apply, with improvements to the law and the stricter supervision, the act of claiming Bitcoin must be regarded as a crime, at least until the law explicitly states otherwise.

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