A judge in Florida ruled in a money-laundering case this week that bitcoin is not a currency — but experts aren’t so sure.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler dismissed charges Monday against a Florida man charged with illegally transmitting and laundering $1,500 in bitcoin.
He couldn’t launder or illegally transmit any money, Pooler said, because bitcoin doesn’t qualify as a currency. The reason, she elaborated, is that it does not have tangible, real-world value.
Instead, bitcoin is property, the ruling said.
The electronic currency was created in 2009 and has grown exponentially in popularity since then. The digital currency first found popularity on the dark web (most notably the Silk Road marketplace) as a way to exchange goods without the introduction of national currencies.
Bitcoin eventually found some popularity for legitimate online transactions and its value surged at a few points in 2015. Now hovering around $655 per bitcoin, there is now around $10.2 billion worth of the cryptocurrency in existence, according to bitcoin monitoring firm Kaiko.
As the currency has become more widely used, courts and citizens have been confronting difficult legal questions around just what a bitcoin is.
Some experts don’t agree with the Florida judge’s