Bitcoin Qualifies as Money in Case of First Impression in Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal

On Wednesday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal ruled that Bitcoin qualifies as money in a case that turned on whether the digital currency is driving financial crime. According to a post by the Daily Business Review;

“The appellate court’s opinion reverses Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Teresa Pooler’s 2016 finding that digital or cryptocurrency could not be considered money under Florida law. The case in question concerned Miami Beach resident Michell Espinoza, charged with two counts of money laundering and acting as an unauthorized money transmitter operating a digital currency-trading website, LocalBitcoins.com.’’

Although Pooler’s ruling had dismissed the charges against Espinoza, the district court says that Bitcoin ‘does not expressly fall under the definition of currency’ found in the Florida Statute but crypto coins do constitute payment instruments. Meaning that ‘payment instrument’, also called ‘monetary value’, is a medium of exchange whether it’s redeemable in currency or not.  According to the court, Bitcoin functions as a medium of exchange.

The Third District Court of Appeal (DCA) has therefore remanded Espinoza’s case for further proceedings. According to Daily Business Review, ‘Its ruling in the case of the first impression might pave the way for regulation of cryptocurrency transfers in Florida, as federal agencies and state banking regulators weigh whether Bitcoin trading constitutes money transmission.’

Is Bitcoin really money?

Well, yes, there are several proofs that back up this truth. First, the cryptocurrency can be used to purchase a whole lot of things in today’s world. People buy gifts, pay for hotel accommodations, Amazon goods, and conduct so many other online transactions using Bitcoin (BTC).

Again, how you spend Bitcoin is not different from how you spend any other fiat currency. Bitcoin is a unit of account since different amounts of BTC will get you different qualities and quantities of goods and services. Bitcoin is also a store of value because you can store it and use it later with it having about the same or even increased value, a characteristic that all the other fiat currencies have.

The appellate court’s opinion could open the door for cracking down on unregulated Bitcoin trading. An unregulated trading space makes it impossible to get your crypto back in case you get ripped off in a BTC transaction.


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