NYT: Divorcing Crypto Couples

Dividing the family's Bitcoin stash has become a major source of contention in divorce cases

This New York Times article highlights the divorce of Francis DeSouza, a tech entrepreneur that lost about 500 bitcoins in the Mt. Gox hack in 2014. The trial court found that Francis breached his fiduciary duty to his wife by failing to disclose how he obtained the bitcoins (using proxies), where the coins were being held (Mt. Gox), and that most of the coins were stolen in the 2014 hack.

Francis only disclosed that the coins were missing after the final divorce judgment in 2017. When his wife asked him to divide the coins as provided in the decree, he admitted that he only had a measly 613 bitcoins still in his possession. In a post-decree hearing, the wife’s expert testified that “only an idiot would leave his Bitcoins on Mt. Gox.” Ultimately, Francis was ordered to transfer 555 of the remaining bitcoins to his wife.

At the time Francis purchased the 500 bitcoins in 2013, he paid $45,000. At today’s price, those same 500 coins are worth over $21 million.

You can read the full story in the court of appeals opinion from the DeSouza’s divorce case.