Bitcoin Is Not Money, Judge Says

This picture shows an entrance of La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris.

This picture shows an entrance of La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bitcoin is not money, a Miami-Dade judge ruled Monday.

The ruling came as part of the judge’s decision to throw out criminal charges against a Miami Beach man charged with illegally selling the virtual currency, the Miami Herald reported.

The decision was being closely watched since the virtual currency has recently become crazy popular.

This case all started when Michell Espinoza was accused of illegally selling and laundering $1,500 in Bitcoin to (what he would later find out were) undercover detectives. They told him they wanted to use the “money” to buy stolen credit-card numbers.

Turns out, since you can’t actually hold Bitcoin in your hands or, as Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler put it,  hide it “under a mattress like cash and gold bars,” you can’t call it money.  Judge Pooler went on to say “Bitcoin has a long way to go” before it can be considered equivalent to money.

What Is Bitcoin? 

Bitcoin is a  virtual currency invented by a mysterious guy named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.  The inconsistently regulated “money” lets people spend it anonymously and can also be bought and sold on exchanges with other currencies, including U.S. dollars.

It quickly grew in popularity, and can even be used at some restaurants. Even more, PayPal and other payment services let people use the currency.

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