Minor owning cryptocurrency

A minor holds a significant amount of cryptocurrency and his father wants to help him sell it on an online platform. He can’t sell it as he’s a minor. The platform have asked for a trust. I assume they mean a bare trust.

Can a minor sign a declaration that his father holds the legal title to the cryptocurrency on a bare trust for him?

Paul Lowery
Boyes Turner

Presumably the “platform” can/should specify what legal system they employ, and so what form of trust they envisage.

Perhaps also explain how the assets could be registered in the name of a minor who [apparently] cannot deal?

Kevin Mullen

I’m guessing this is a situation where the cryptocurrency system allows someone to acquire the mining software to police the underlying transactions of the cryptocurrency without any requirement to be of age. But once that mining has produced significant earnings in the cryptocurrency those assets cannot be liquidated as the ‘being of age’ then becomes an issue. Chicken meets Egg!

Can a minor enter into a bare trust? From what I’ve read you need a power of disposition over a type of property to create a trust of it. Clearly that is the problem here. I think there may be a case (Edwards v Carter 1893) that covers under 18’s and equitable interests in land (probably no help!)

I wonder whether it might be worth looking into a general power of attorney. EPAs, unlike LPAs, had no age 18 restriction. Given GPAs predate EPAs, perhaps this might still be the case here? If so, the son could make a GPA for the purpose of authorising the Father to liquidate the cryptocurrency?

Mark Hopper
Woolley, Beardsleys and Bosworth

I suspect this is fairly simple in practice. If father has the relevant private key (a string of characters) from his child then he is effectively in control of the currency (as close as you will get to possession) and can make a simple declaration of trust in favour of his child. The platform is unlikely to query the full legal analysis behind the declaration.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP