The legal debate over bitcoin is getting tricky across state lines.
Is bitcoin money? A judge in New York on Monday ruled it is.
The ruling followed an opposite conclusion in Florida in July. A judge in that state dismissed charges of illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 in bitcoin on the grounds that bitcoin wasn’t a currency.
This time around, US District Judge Alison Nathan declined to dismiss charges against Anthony Murgio for operating an unlicensed bitcoin exchange. Murgio had argued to have his charges dismissed because bitcoins did not qualify as “funds” noted in federal law forbidding unlawful money transmitting, according to Reuters.
“Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term,” Nathan wrote in her decision. “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.”
That’s a different conclusion than the one a Florida judge drew about the cryptocurency.
“They [bitcoin] are certainly not tangible wealth and cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary