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Judge Rules Bitcoin Isn’t Money Because it “Can’t be Hidden Under a Mattress”

by Everett Numbers, The Anti Media:

In a landmark decision, a Florida judge dismissed charges of money laundering against a Bitcoin seller on Monday following expert testimony showing state law did not apply to the cryptocurrency.

Michell Espinoza was charged with three felony charges related to money laundering in 2014, but what appears to have helped to clear him of any and all wrongdoing was testimony given just a few weeks ago by an economics professor.

“This is the most fascinating thing I’ve heard in this courtroom in a long time,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler said after hearing Barry University professor Charles Evans present evidence during a May hearing that Bitcoin was more akin to“poker chips that people are willing to buy from you,” according to theMiami Herald.

Evans was given $3,000 in Bitcoin by defense attorneys for sharing his expertise, the newspaper reported.

Judge Pooler found the cryptocurrency, which is based on verified encrypted transactions that are recorded on a public ledger, did not constitute “tangible wealth” and“cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars,” reported the Herald.

Pooler added that Bitcoin was not codified by government, nor backed by any bank.

“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 in her decision.

“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 added.

Espinoza, 33, was charged after undercover detectives bought $1,500 worth of Bitcoin from him, claiming they would use the currency to purchase stolen credit card numbers. However, Judge Pooler found the Florida law prosecutors based their case upon to be too “vague.”

Another man, Pascal Reid, was arrested in tandem with Espinoza. Reid took an early plea deal, pleading guilty to acting as an unlicensed money broker. The deal required him to serve a probation sentence and educate law enforcement on the workings of Bitcoin.

While Monday’s ruling comes as a relief to Espinoza, it remains to be seen what comes next in Bitcoin regulation. States continue to grapple with the issue, and at the federal level, regulation has stalled. But Bitcoin enthusiasts have recently been more optimistic about a price surge, so the powers that be may move quickly if the virtual currency’s popularity resurges.

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4 comments to Judge Rules Bitcoin Isn’t Money Because it “Can’t be Hidden Under a Mattress”

  • mike

    BTC is the very definition of money! BTC rules all others. It is in demand and spends. Gubberment does not recognize it as money enabling it to circumvent gubberments and banks and it can not be manipulated. BTC is the one and only Vampire Squid Killer!
    BTC does not have a history of theft, murder, genocide, slavery, manipulation like the COMMON barbaric relic . BTC is the only honest money ever created by humans and the only money in human history to be truly limited in quantity.
    Stop embracing manipulation, the dollar paradigm and total gubberment/ bankster control..Embrace the future 🙂
    Got to love gubberment bureaucrats if something doesn’t fit the SOP then it doesn’t exist to them. This is great news!

  • tomche

    Bitcoin is NOT the very definition of money, Mike. Sorry.

    From an Andy Hoffman piece:

    “If there is one thing I try to relate, it is that gold is NOT an “investment,” but MONEY.
    “Dollars” and “Euros” are currency, but currency is not MONEY. In my presentation last night, Andy Schectman and I were allocated two slides each before opening the floor for Q&A. Thus, I had to pick the most important topic in my repertoire, and this is what I chose:
    First, a table listing the primary attributes of MONEY, which contrary to popular PROPAGANDA, is not just a medium of exchange. In fact, the only definitional parameters the dollar satisfies are the least important, its divisibility and fungibility. Conversely, it doesn’t come close to meeting the other four, all of which are vitally important to your financial health­ – particularly item #3, the necessity to maintain VALUE…
    …which the dollar has NOT been since the Federal Reserve was unconstitutionally created in 1913, per the chart below. For that matter, you could replace the word “dollar” with ANY of the world’s nearly 200 fiat currencies, and the chart would look the same…
    I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS POINT ENOUGH, and felt compelled to reiterate it when I came across one of Miles Franklin’s marketing pamphlets, titled “GOOD MONEY MUST HAVE SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS.” This timeless piece was taken from Richard Russell of Dow Theory Letters, and nothing proves my point better:
    (1) It must be durable, which is why we don’t use wheat or corn or rice.
    (2) It must be divisible, which is why we don’t use art work.
    (3) It must be convenient, which is why we don’t use lead or copper.
    (4) It must be consistent, which is why we don’t use real estate.
    (5) It must possess value in itself, which is why we don’t use paper.
    (6) It must be limited in the quantity that is available, which is why we don’t use aluminum or iron.
    (7) It should have a long history of acceptance, which is why we don’t use molybdenum or rhodium.
    Only GOLD and SILVER fit all seven characteristics.”

    Bitcoin fits SOME of these but it is NOT a store of value in itself. What happens if there is NO electricity? Bitcoin vanishes and with it, it’s usefulness.

    Bitcoin is digital and I prefer analog or real, tangible things in life. With digital comes enslavement/ control. The world is building it’s own (digital) cage into which there is no real escape….and digital currencies like bitcoin and the rest are the glove to the digital hand.

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