In what is believed to be the first money-laundering prosecution involving bitcoin, a Miami judge has ruled that the virtual currency isn’t the same as money and thrown out criminal charges against a man accused of selling it to undercover agents.
Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled on Monday that bitcoin ‘has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money,’ and, as a result, defendant Michell Abner Espinoza wasn’t operating an unlicensed money-services business.
Judge Pooler also ruled there was insufficient evidence that Mr Espinoza, who stood accused of selling bitcoin to federal agents who said they were going to use the currency to buy stolen credit-card numbers, had committed the crime of money laundering.
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