A US judge has ruled that bitcoin is not money, dismissing money-laundering charges against a man accused of selling the virtual currency to undercover detectives.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler threw out charges against Michell Espinoza, who had been accused of illegally transmitting and laundering $1500 in Bitcoin when he sold them to undercover cops who told him that they wanted to use the digital currency to buy stolen credit card numbers.
In an eight page order (PDF), the judge says: "Nothing in our frame of reference allows us to accurately define or describe Bitcoin."
She continues: "This Court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, that Bitcoin has a long way to go before it is the equivalent of money."
The judge has concluded that Florida law on charging someone with money laundering if they engage in financial transactions that promote illegal activity is too vague to apply to Bitcoin.
"This Court is unwilling to punish a man for selling his property to another, when his actions fall under a statute that is so vaguely written that even legal professionals have difficulty finding a singular meaning."