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U.S. Federal District Court Declared Bitcoin as Legal Money (btcnn.com)
12 points by obilgic 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

Bitcoin is certainly a subject of interest to HN readers, but this article is absolutely terrible.

For example: what does this sentence mean?

> The definition Bitcoin that guided the ruling of the district court is based on the FinCEN interpretive guide which is noted as not ambiguous for understandable.

The news here seems to be that using Bitcoin can meet the definition in 18 U.S.C. 1960:

> (2) the term “money transmitting” includes transferring funds on behalf of the public by any and all means...

I'm not a lawyer, but that doesn't seem to require that Bitcoin be "legal [sic] money", just that it happened to be the medium for moving money around in this case.

This article is much more clear: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-btc-qualifies-as-money-and-fun...

Actual court decision: [1]

It's not a big deal. The basic decision is that "this falls within the plain meaning of “transferring funds on behalf of the public by any and all means,” such that Stetkiw’s Bitcoin transactions constitute “money transmitting” under 18 U.S.C. § 1960(b)(2)." There is a long history of people trying to edge around laws regulating the handling other people's assets, and they usually lose in court. So laws in that area are often broadly worded.

It's more interesting to look at PayPal's struggles to avoid being regulated as a bank.

[1] https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.mied.332293...

Yeah, there's a hell of a big difference between that and legal precedent that bitcoin counts as currency rather than physical property of some sort.

If someone steals a $20 bill out of my wallet and spends it at a gas station, I can't go to the gas station and get my $20 bill back, even if I have the serial number and can uniquely identify it. If someone steals $20 of bitcoin and spends it at a gas station, then it's within my legal rights to demand the return of my bitcoin from the gas station. This system is obviously problematic for the use of money to settle accounts, which is why there's 300+ year old legal precedent that bank notes work like currency and not like property.

"Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies" (2013) https://www.fincen.gov/resources/statutes-regulations/guidan...

"Legality of bitcoin by country or territory" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_bitcoin_by_country...

"Know your customer" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_your_customer

"Anti-money-laundering measures by region" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering#Anti-money-la...

"Anti-money-laundering measures by region > United States" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering#United_States

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