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Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-fought-the-law dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with the latest in the case against the alleged creator of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht. The government and legal community may still be arguing over whether bitcoin can be defined as "money." But the judge presiding over the landmark Silk Road drug case has declared that it's at least close enough to get you locked up for money laundering. In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge Katherine Forrest denied a motion by Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old alleged creator of the Silk Road billion-dollar online drug bazaar, to dismiss all criminal charges against him. Those charges include narcotics trafficking conspiracy, money laundering, and hacking conspiracy charges, as well as a "continuing criminal enterprise" charge that's better known as the "kingpin" statute used to prosecute criminal gang and cartel leaders.
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Judge Shoots Down "Bitcoin Isn't Money" Argument In Silk Road Trial

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:53AM (#47422907)

    The judge dismisses the 'bitcoin is not money' portion based of a ruling that the IRS and Fed Reserve do not have the authority to define what 'money' is. (both having defined bitcoin as 'property' and not 'money') Which is all fine and good, but the US Marshal has already ruled bitcoin as property since they disposed of the seized bitcoin through a property sale. There are very particular and different rules governing the disposal of money and property. One would think the US Marshals office actions would be the statute defining action.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @05:38AM (#47423043) Homepage

    Actually most of America would applaud the SWAT team entering banks with shotguns and tasers.

    Listening to an investment banker on the floor screaming "dont taze me bro" would pretty much make every single person on the planet smile at the same time. It would cause world peace and make cold fusion work.

  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @05:43AM (#47423061) Homepage Journal

    Bitcoin's primary purpose is to traffic/launder money and goods.

    I was going to say something about people who are financial tools themselves...

    However, I guess you're right. I want to be responsible for my money, and I want to be able to use it freely, without government snooping. If that makes me a money launderer, so be it. It's like those politically organized pirates that simply want to use a free Internet, rather than rape and pillage.

    Bitcoin isn't even particularly anonymous. If you want to launder your coins, you need to trust a third party, which kind of ruins the point of a decentralized/free currency. There are much better cryptocurrencies out there for anonymous purposes.

  • by Deagol (323173) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @06:18AM (#47423137) Homepage

    Since we are supposed to report the value of barter transactions to the IRS at tax time, I don't think one (in the US, anyway) can ever argue in court that something used as a proxy for value cannot be treated as "money".

  • Moron Judge (Score:1, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @06:24AM (#47423155) Homepage Journal

    Its not *money*, its just simple bartering. in this case for objects that people agree on is valuable ( like pez dispensers, game tokens, or Gold Pressed Latinum ) Now, can trading in illegal/stolen items get you put in jail, sure. But its not *money* laundering. ( i think the correct term in most areas would be 'criminal conversion' )

    Much like 'piracy is theft', while it may be illegal to do so, its still not *theft* because the term is used.

    This perversion of terms and concepts is dangerous. It only leads to more loosely defined terms of illegality and more people subject to the governments wrath.

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