Bitcoin Isn't Money

Discussion in 'Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency' started by Eman, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Eman

    Eman Member

    A Florida judge has ruled that Bitcoin isn’t money

    Ever since it moved into the mainstream Bitcoin has had a bit of an identity crisis.

    Mainly because no one is really sure whether it should be considered money or property. The IRS says it’s property for tax purposes, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission says it’s a commodity, and most Bitcoin advocates like to say it’s the world’s most advanced currency.

    However, today one Florida judge ruled it was property, strengthening that argument and potentially setting precedent in future Bitcoin-related court cases.

    Here are the details: In a case dating back to 2013, a defendant was accused of selling bitcoin to undercover officers for cash that the officers told the defendant was obtained illegally. The defendant was then arrested and charged with two counts of money laundering (because he was under assumption that the cash he was receiving was “dirty”), and one charge of acting as a money transmitter/payment instrument seller.

    Judge Teresa Pooler today dismissed both charges, essentially due to her decision that since Bitcoin isn’t money the defendant can’t be charged for illegally transmitting or laundering money.

    For the money laundering charges, the law states that it’s illegal for an individual to conduct a “financial transaction” with money that a law enforcement officer says came from an illegal activity. Judge Pooler agreed with the defense that the charge should be dismissed because a financial transaction is defined as involving a “monetary instrument”, which Bitcoin isn’t.

    For the money transmitter/payment instrument seller charge, Judge Pooler also agreed with the defense that Bitcoin doesn’t fall under the definition of “payment” instrument, and referenced theIRS’s definition as an example. Judge Pooler conceded by saying that “attempting to fit the sale of Bitcoin into a statutory scheme regarding money services businesses is like fitting a square peg in a round hole”.

    While the decision is only on the Florida state circuit court level, it could act as precedent for future similar cases.

    The reality is though that the ultimate decision on how to classify Bitcoin will end up in the hands of lawmakers. At some point state and federal lawmakers (and even those in other countries) are going to have to sit down and write a stricter definition of Bitcoin that will remove any ambiguity on whether or not it should be classified as currency or property.

    Gman77 and Millard Baker like this.
  2. master.on

    master.on Member

    So it looks like cops couldn't trace where the bitcoins came from (even if it was something illegal!)
    but they told him 'we can sell you the bitcoins we got from XYZ crime...'

    So yes
    exchanging bitcoins from/into cash is the weakest link by far
  3. Eman

    Eman Member

    No, it's visa versa. The money was allegedly earned as a result of a crime, not the bitcoin.

    The defendant was aware of this and offered to launder the money by converting it to bitcoin. However, the money was never illegally obtained because it was a sting with undercover officers.

    This will be a VERY interesting precedent for future illegal activity involving bitcoin and court of law. With that said, I was under the impression that bitcoin was becoming more and more mainstream.... does this take it a few steps in the right or wrong direction? Not sure yet.
  4. pumpingiron22

    pumpingiron22 Member Supporter

    Bitcoin Is Real Money, Judge Rules in J.P. Morgan Hac
    SEPTEMBER 20, 2016, 7:44 AM EDT was run as unlicensed bitcoin exchange, prosecutors say.

    Bitcoin qualifies as money, a federal judge ruled Monday, in a decision linked to a criminal case over hacking attacks against J.P. Morgan Chase and other companies.

    U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan rejected a bid by Anthony Murgio to dismiss two charges related to his alleged operation of, which prosecutors have called an unlicensed bitcoin exchange.

    Murgio had argued that bitcoin did not qualify as “funds” under the federal law prohibiting the operation of unlicensed money transmitting businesses.

    But the judge, like her colleague Jed Rakoff in an unrelated 2014 case, said the virtual currency met that definition.

    “Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term,” Nathan wrote. “Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.”

    The decision did not address six other criminal counts that Murgio faces, Nathan wrote.

    Brian Klein, a lawyer for Murgio, said he disagreed with the decision.

    “Anthony Murgio maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name at his upcoming trial,” he added.

    Prosecutors last year charged Murgio over the operation of, and in April charged his father, Michael, with participating in bribery aimed at supporting it.

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    Authorities have said was owned by Gery Shalon, an Israeli man who, along with two others, was charged with running a sprawling computer hacking and fraud scheme targeting a dozen companies, including J.P. Morgan JPM 0.79% , and exposing personal data of more than 100 million people.

    That alleged scheme generated hundreds of millions of dollars of profit through pumping up stock prices, online casinos, money laundering, and other illegal activity, prosecutors have said.

    Shalon has pleaded not guilty, and is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He hired new lawyers last month and is seeking permission to replace lawyers who joined the case in June, a Monday court filing showed.

    The case is U.S. v. Murgio et. al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-cr-00769
    Bitcoin Is Real Money, Judge Rules in J.P. Morgan Hack
  5. Ed Plucker

    Ed Plucker Member

    They can't bro, no one can. Thats why u use BTC. U cannot trace a transaction back to anyone and if u periodically tumble ur coins ur super safe. But I see BTC as a commodity like gold that can be used as legal tender. Its a lot like gold in its value but once it catches on the mainstream one day 1 BTC will be worth at least $1M.