On Monday a court in Miami, Florida threw out criminal charges against a man accused of illegally selling Bitcoin. The judge stated the virtual currency cannot be classified as money.
The defendant, Michell Espinoza from Miami Beach, was charged with illegally selling and laundering $1,500 worth of the virtual currency in a deal with customers that turned out to be undercover police who said they wanted to use Bitcoin to buy stolen credit card numbers.
Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled that Bitcoin was not “tangible wealth” and “cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars,” adding that it was not backed by an accredited bank or government agency.
“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 [is] the equivalent of money,” Pooler wrote in the judgment.
“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,” she wrote.
So what does this mean for all of us who have invested in this alternative currency? Especially those that have begun to stock-pile the digital coins in way of prepping for a doomsday scenario.
Observers say that the ruling exposes how state statutes don’t account for bitcoin and digital currencies – a gap that could ultimately lead to legislative action both in Florida and beyond.