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Florida Judge: Bitcoin Doesn't Qualify as Money

Image: Florida Judge: Bitcoin Doesn't Qualify as Money
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

By    |   Monday, 25 Jul 2016 01:51 PM

Bitcoin isn't money, according to a Miami-Dade judge who dismissed criminal charges against a Miami Beach man accused of illegally selling and laundering the virtual currency, according to the Miami Herald

Circuit Court Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled on Monday that Bitcoin isn't the equivalent of cash, owing to its lack of government or bank backing, and because the digital code isn't "tangible wealth" that "cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars."

"The court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the Bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money," Pooler wrote.

Additionally, Pooler decided that a Florida law, which says that a person can be charged with money laundering if they participate in a financial transaction that promotes illegal activity, is so vague it can't be applied.

"This court is unwilling to punish a man for selling his property to another, when his actions fall under a statute that is so vaguely written that even legal professionals have difficulty finding a singular meaning," the judge said.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, recently signed House Bill 289, which puts virtual currency businesses within the scope of the state's Money Transmitters Act, according to The National Law Review

"It is a business-friendly bill and gives better guidance to businesses," Perianne Boring, president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a nonprofit Bitcoin advocacy group, told CoinDesk. "The fact that this went through the legislative process is a big step forward. The bill also adds more clarity than any other state by a long shot."

Jerry Brito, the director of fellow nonprofit advocacy group Coin Center, was more critical of the North Carolina legislation, saying "it was a good compromise, but it's by no means the best possible bill."

According to testimony by Barry University economics professor Charles Evans, Bitcoin is a good that can be bartered, not money.

"Basically, it's poker chips that people are willing to buy from you," Evans said, according to the Herald.

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Bitcoin isn't money, according to a Miami-Dade judge who dismissed criminal charges against a Miami Beach man accused of illegally selling and laundering the virtual currency, according to the Miami Herald.
bitcoin, money, judge, florida
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2016-51-25
Monday, 25 Jul 2016 01:51 PM
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