Is Bitcoin actually money? American Banker reports a Florida circuit court judge will rule on the question Friday (July 1) as part of a “first-of-its-kind money-laundering case.”
The report says Michel Espinoza was arrested at a Miami Beach motel in February 2014 after agreeing to sell $30,000 worth of bitcoin to an undercover police officer. Espinoza faces charges for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and for violating Florida money laundering laws.
The defense argues Espinoza was not breaking the law because the bitcoin he was selling was not actual currency, the report says.
American Banker reports regulators and companies that deal in the digital currency have both been grappling with the question at the heart of the case for years — how to manage a digital asset that holds value even though you can’t actually hold it in your hand.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Pooler is set to rule Friday on the case. If she rules bitcoin is indeed a currency, the ruling would only apply in the state of Florida, though other states could look to the decision to guide their own regulations, the report says.