Judge: Bitcoins Not Actual Money

A Florida judge has ruled that bitcoins are not actual money. And, this ruling could increase the use of crypto-currency that’s been relatively elusive in the financial system.

According to the July 22 from Teresa Pooler, the Miami-Dade circuit judge, nobody needs a license to purchase or sell bitcoins.

Pooler determined the man, Michel Espinoza, should not face charges of money laundering after he was caught trying to sell bitcoins worth $1.500 to an undercover agent. According to the case, the defendant was allegedly going to use the virtual currency to purchase stolen credit card numbers.

Rene Palomino, Espinoza’s attorney, said, the judge ruled it wasn’t illegal for people to sell their property and that it didn’t mean he was running an illegal financial service. She said her client was selling his bitcoins, which can be done without a money transmitting license.

Pooler said she didn’t want to people to be punished for selling their property to someone else, as it falls under a vaguely written statute that legal professionals can’t fully understand. She said the court has no experience in economics but knows that bitcoin has bit of a ways to go before it can be money equivalent.

The origins of Bitcoin are a bit of a muster, but that it’s computer code that’s not government-backed. According to advocates, it’s a worthwhile alternative to other currencies since it’s not subjected to the state whims – used mainly for buying illegal goods or other shady practices.

Bitcoin began in 2009 as software that was written under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Craig Wright, an Australian programmer, claimed he was the author but was unable to convince anyone of the claim.

Bitcoin is accepted in some stores, online transactions and restaurants in the U.S. but is illegal in China, France, and several other countries

According to an Arthur Long, an attorney with the New York firm Gibson Dunn, said the ruling is a minute victory for virtual currency, saying it could affect some states who are attempting to use established money transmitting statutes to control certain bitcoin transactions.

 

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