A Miami man accused of dealing illegally in the virtual currency known as Bitcoin is asking a judge Friday to throw out the case.
Michell Espinoza’s argument: Bitcoin is not actual money under Florida law.
“Bitcoin is not backed by the United States government or any other government and it is not directly regulated by any specific federal or state regulatory agency,” his lawyers wrote in a motion asking a judge to dismiss the charges.
The unique prosecution — Espinoza, 32, is charged with illegally transferring money and money laundering after selling Bitcoins to an undercover detective — will be tested during a hearing on Friday afternoon in Miami-Dade circuit court.
Expected to testify on his behalf: Charles Evans, a Barry University economist who specializes in the virtual currency. “He was paid in Bitcoin,” Espinoza’s attorney, Rene Palomino, said of his hired expert.
The prosecution of Espinoza is being closely because it is believed to be the first money laundering case against someone for dealing in Bitcoins. As the currency has gained in popularity, law enforcement has struggled to figure out to it fits into illegal activities.
The controversial virtual currency allows users to spend money anonymously, and can be also be bought