Bitcoin is not money—yet

Florida court’s ruling is unlikely to be the last word in cryptocurrency.

A fairly obscure case in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court speaks volumes about the role of Bitcoin in the national consciousness—in both the rapt attention it received from techies and privacy zealots and the way it demonstrated that most people, lawmakers included, still have no idea what to make of virtual currency.

On the surface, Judge Teresa Pooler presided over a fairly straightforward money laundering case, the defendant having facilitated the sale of stolen credit card numbers.

In this instance, however, the exchange was made using Bitcoin rather than an old-fashioned suitcase full of bills.

But since the judge ruled that Bitcoin does not qualify as money, what took place technically wasn’t money laundering in her view. Case dismissed.

It’s easy to picture gangs of shady characters rushing to fence goods with impunity before this decision can be appealed, or before lawmakers can patch up the loophole.

continue reading »