US Magistrate Judge ruled that Bitcoin isn't money

posted about 1 year ago
In a local money laundering case in Buffalo, U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott recently ruled that bitcoin is similar to a commodity, something akin to a collectible, not a form of currency.

While Scott's decision may not stand – the district judge reviewing it may take a different position – it does raise the type of legal questions that confront people and businesses eager to move away from traditional forms of money.

Scott doesn't dispute the value of bitcoins but, in his eyes, that doesn't make them money. Scott defines currency as a financial instrument or medium of exchange that is assessed value, is regulated and is protected by a sovereign power.

Yes, bitcoins have value, but they are not regulated and there is no government or central authority backing them up. To the contrary, Scott noted, "the whole point of bitcoin is to escape the entanglement with sovereign governments."

"Money is not just any financial instrument or medium of exchange that people can devise on their own," the judge said in his ruling.

Scott said he could not rule out the possibility that bitcoin may someday become a widespread and routine form of exchange but, until then, it remains a commodity compared to collectibles like "marbles, Beanie Babies or Pokemon trading cards."
Tags: opinion, bitcoin, news