Judge Says Bitcoin Isn't Really Money
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Bitcoin is not money, according to a Florida judge.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled on Monday that since bitcoin is not backed by a nation or bank, and that it can't be "hidden under a mattress like cash and gold bars," it cannot be considered money.
The case in question accused a man of selling and laundering $1,500 worth of bitcoin to undercover detectives, who said they wanted to buy stolen credit card numbers, according to the Miami Herald, which reported on the ruling.
"The court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money," Pooler wrote in the order, according to the Miami Herald.
The ruling, which might catch the ire of bitcoin supporters, was actually a victory for the defendant Michell Espinoza. By not classifying bitcoin as money, he didn't violate money laundering statutes.
Bitcoin, which is mined via PCs, can be converted to national currencies, and owners can use it to buy products from prominent ecommerce sites, including Overstock.com. But not many people are running to convert their cash into bitcoin. Pooler's ruling shows how far bitcoin has to go.