A Currency by Any Other Name? Damages Valuations in Cryptocurrency Disputes

Very real damages can arise in “virtual” currency disputes. When liability is fixed in virtual currency, can judgment issue in that currency? If not, how should currency be converted into dollars? These simple questions have complex answers, at the nexus of which is Section 27 of New York’s Judiciary Law. The unsettled application of this statute to virtual currencies has serious consequences for litigants. The authors argue that New York courts can (and should) issue judgments in virtual currency when possible and apply Section 27’s judgment day conversion rule when U.S. dollar judgments are required.

Courts Should Apply Section 27(b) to Cryptocurrency Claims

Section 27 of New York’s Judiciary Law is a brief, two-part statute. Part (a) requires courts to issue judgments “in dollars and cents.” Part (b) makes an exception for claims “denominated in a currency other than currency of the United States” where courts “shall render or enter a judgment or decree in the foreign currency” that “shall be converted” to dollars “on the date of entry of the judgment.”