Le consommateur et la cryptomonnaie

Montpellier Court of Appeal – ch. civil 02, 21 October 2021 / n° 21/00224


Can a cryptocurrency investor be granted consumer status and thus benefit from the protective rules of consumer law? 

This is the question that the Montpellier Court of Appeal had to answer in a judgment of its second civil chamber dated October 21, 2021.

 In this case, an investor had opened an account on a platform dedicated to cryptocurrencies.

 He had also assisted the platform on a completely voluntary basis in the development of certain computer technologies, which thus assumed that he had a solid knowledge of cryptocurrencies.

While benefiting from a large portfolio on the platform, the investor suffered a hack causing him a loss of more than 300,000 euros.

The investor then seized the High Court of Montpellier for the purpose of obtaining reimbursement of the sum he had lost.

However, the High Court will declare itself incompetent to hear the dispute because of a clause provided for in the contract granting exclusive jurisdiction to the Lithuanian courts.

The investor then decided to appeal the decision.

The Montpellier Court of Appeal thus had to rule on the issue of granting consumer status to the investor to determine whether the jurisdiction clause should be set aside.

For the second-degree judges, even if the investor had specific knowledge of cryptocurrencies, since the contract was not concluded for professional use, the status of consumer must be granted to him.

This judgment is therefore analyzed as an extension of the protective status of consumer to investors in cryptocurrencies even if they have solid knowledge in the matter.

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