On September 19 U.S. Federal Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan declared Bitcoin is money. The judgment follows the recent Florida ruling in which the Judge decided the opposite — that Bitcoin is not money. The decisions in both states show U.S. officials don’t see eye to eye on classifiying cryptocurrency.
New York Federal Judge Deems Bitcoin as Money
The criminal case against Anthony Murgio has confused the cryptocurrency community once again. Murgio was accused of operating an illegal Bitcoin exchange that laundered money for hackers, possibly linked to attacks on corporate entities including JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Murgio used the same defense as Michell Espinoza, saying Bitcoin does not qualify as a currency.
Prosecutors said Murgio’s Coin.mx exchange was an unlicensed operation which transmitted currency unlawfully. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected Murgio’s bid to dismiss the charges. Judge Nathan wrote:
Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term.— Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.
Coin.mx Owners Face Many Charges
Anthony Murgio still has six more unrelated criminal counts against him, which the ruling did not address. His attorney Brian Klein disagreed with the decision, saying: “Anthony Murgio maintains his innocence and looks forward to clearing his name at his upcoming trial.”
The accused allegedly made millions of dollars by manipulating stocks, money laundering, and fraudulent online casinos. Prosecutors say there is more to the case than simply money transmission. Gery Shalon co-owned Coin.mx; he plead not guilty as well, and awaits trial in Manhattan’s correctional facility.
U.S. Officials Have a Hard Time Classifying Bitcoin
The ruling is quite different to the Miami-Dade court decision in which the Judge ruled Bitcoin wasn’t a currency. The decision was controversial, and the state of Florida is currently appealing the decision.
U.S. officials are having a difficult time trying to define Bitcoin state to state and with Federal entities. For instance, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission calls Bitcoin a commodity. The IRS defines the cryptocurrency as an asset.
The U.S.-based cryptocurrency community wonders what will be the final outcome when it comes to Bitcoin’s classification. So far it is pretty confusing, to say the least.
What do you think about the Manhattan Judge declaring Bitcoin as money? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock,
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