Federal Judge Rules Bitcoin As "Money"

A federal judge in New York ruled yesterday that Bitcoin is equivalent to money. The ruling came as a defendant, Anthony Murgio, unsuccessfully tried to get the case against him that relates to his connection with the Coin.mx Bitcoin exchange dropped on the grounds that the the digital currency doesn't count as "funds".

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan disagreed with with Murgio, saying that Bitcoin certainly could be described as "funds". She wrote, "Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term. Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment."

The ruling means that Murgio will now certainly face a trial later this year over his operation of Coin.mx, which is connected with a hacking operation that targeted JPMorgan and other companies. If the judge had agreed that Bitcoin was not equivalent to money, then the charges against Murgio would have had to be been dropped.

Judge Nathan's ruling on Bitcoin comes in contrast to a case earlier on in the year in Florida, where a judge in that state dropped a money laundering case against a defendant when she ruled that Bitcoin was not money at all. It appears that some standardization might be required going forward.

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