Bitcoin is Money Says Florida Judge After Court Ruling

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A Florida appeals court has overturned an acquittal that based its original decision on the grounds that Bitcoin was not actually classified as money at the time.

The original decision had thrown out charges against Michell Espinoza, who sold bitcoin worth around $1350 to an undercover police detective in 2014, on the grounds that Bitcoin was not legally money, but more like “poker chips that people are willing to buy from you,” according to a witness at the 2016 hearing.

A Third District Appeal Court hearing in Miami has now overturned that decision, which will result in Espinoza facing a trial by jury. According to the court “Espinoza’s bitcoins-for-cash business requires him to register as a payment instrument seller and money transmitter.”

The implications of this latest case are far-reaching, basically asserting that Bitcoin can be classified as legal tender, thereby opening the door to similar cases from the past.  In December, a bipartisan bill was put before Congress aiming to exempt cryptocurrencies from securities law.

Florida has been attempting to get to grips with crypto scams in the state in order to strengthen the cryptocurrency industry for bona fide users. Last year, the chief financial officer of the state of Florida, Jimmy Patronis announced the appointment of a cryptocurrency chief to provide oversight for the growing cryptocurrency industry. It was thought that the new role would not deter the innovation and expansion of cryptocurrency in Florida, but support it.

 

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