It appears that I am the first person (attorney or otherwise) in the United States to obtain a judgment based on a Bitcoin loan.
My client from Brazil, who still lives there, made a loan in Bitcoins through a P2P lending platform called BITjam, to a Kentucky resident. The resident did not pay anything back – apparently, he just kept the money.
The client obtained an arbitration award through net-ARB. However, he could not do anything with the award.
So, he called me from Brazil and I figured I would give it a shot. After sending a collection letter and seeing the fellow’s response, I filed the lawsuit. The fellow answered and based on his answer, I asked the Court for a judgment.
At the hearing, I explained that an arbitrator already ruled in favor of my client and there was a breach of contract in that no money was paid back on the loan. The Judge seemed relieved that there was already an arbitration award – which saved me going through the long-winded speech about Bitcoin (apparently, I was one of three people in the courtroom of about 50 people who was relatively familiar with it) and allowed the Judge to rely on the fact that someone else examined the claim. So, he granted the Motion for Summary Judgment (he issued the judgment).
With the judgment, I have pursued the fellow – reached out to all of the banks in the county looking for bank accounts, putting a lien on any real property he may have or get in the county, searching vehicle records through the Department of Motor Vehicles and sending him post-judgment questions to search for assets and income (which if he does not answer, could possibly result in sanctions by the Court).
All of this is public record.