Florida Judge Defines Bitcoin As Property Rather Than Money

By July 26, 2016Bitcoin Business
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TheMerkle_Court Ruling Bitcoin is Property
TheMerkle_Court Ruling Bitcoin is Property

Depending on how one wants to look at the situation, the judge ruling Bitcoin isn’t money is both good and bad at the same time. The judge ruled Bitcoin to be property, which may very well set a precedent for future Bitcoin-related court cases. As a result of this ruling, one man convicted of selling “illegally obtained’ bitcoins had both charges dismissed.

Bitcoin Is A Property, Which Is Good

This entire court case dates back several years, as one man was accused of selling illicitly obtained bitcoins to undercover law enforcement officials in exchange for cash. All of this took place back in 2013, during a time when there were even more questions than answers regarding Bitcoin than there are right now.

Due to this arrest, the man was facing two different charges: money laundering and acting as a payment transmitter. Particularly this latter part has been a topic of substantial debate so far, as money transmitters need to obtain specific licenses in just about any region of the world. However, that would also indicate Bitcoin is money, which is not the case in the US right now.

Florida Judge Pooler was appointed this case, and after thoroughly reviewing all of the evidence, she declared Bitcoin is property and not money. After all, if Bitcoin isn’t money, one can’t be a money transmitter. Nor can one be involved in laundering money, unless property laundering becomes a new criminal offense in the next few decades.

The bigger question is what this decision will do to the status of Bitcoin in the United States. Granted, this decision should only affect the state of Florida, for now, and this ruling is not a guarantee every Bitcoin case will be deemed to be “property” instead of money. However, it does set an interesting precedent that may have much bigger ramifications moving forward.

One thing to keep in mind is the “verdict” on Bitcoin is not in the hands of court judges, unfortunately. Policymakers will shape the future of cryptocurrency in the coming years, and they may feel incentivized to have it labeled as money as a result of this court case. Either way, this is positive Bitcoin news, for now.

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This entire court case dates back several years, as one man was accused of selling illicitly obtained bitcoins to undercover law enforcement officials in exchange for cash. All of this took place back in 2013, during a time when there were even more questions than answers regarding Bitcoin than there are right now.

Due to this arrest, the man was facing two different charges: money laundering and acting as a payment transmitter. Particularly this latter part has been a topic of substantial debate so far, as money transmitters need to obtain specific licenses in just about any region of the world. However, that would also indicate Bitcoin is money, which is not the case in the US right now.

Florida Judge Pooler was appointed this case, and after thoroughly reviewing all of the evidence, she declared Bitcoin is property and not money. After all, if Bitcoin isn’t money, one can’t be a money transmitter. Nor can one be involved in laundering money, unless property laundering becomes a new criminal offense in the next few decades.

The bigger question is what this decision will do to the status of Bitcoin in the United States. Granted, this decision should only affect the state of Florida, for now, and this ruling is not a guarantee every Bitcoin case will be deemed to be “property” instead of money. However, it […]

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