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Author Topic: Is bit coin legal in the US?  (Read 43400 times)
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February 10, 2011, 10:59:12 PM
 #21

How will MtGox make money?

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February 11, 2011, 12:04:00 PM
 #22

MTGOX cost nothing to use.  MTGOX used to use a ...

i thought they charge 0.65 % which was already ok, compared to other e-currencies.
when did they change the fees policy, please?

At the time jgarzik posted that comment (October last year), there was no charge for trades at MtGox. As ptmhd says, it's currently 0.65% which seems reasonable to me.
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February 11, 2011, 01:17:32 PM
 #23

BitCoin would have to be actual money first.

Just because someone says something is money or a coin does not make it so. So there is no way it is illegal under at least that Title 18 code because bitcoin is not money and so you are not in a money transmitting business.





Is running bit coin legal in the US?  In particular:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001960----000-.html

quote:

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 95 > § 1960
Prev | Next
§ 1960. Prohibition of unlicensed money transmitting businesses

(a) Whoever knowingly conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business, shall be fined in accordance with this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(b) As used in this section—
(1) the term “unlicensed money transmitting business” means a money transmitting business which affects interstate or foreign commerce in any manner or degree and—
(A) is operated without an appropriate money transmitting license in a State where such operation is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony under State law, whether or not the defendant knew that the operation was required to be licensed or that the operation was so punishable;
(B) fails to comply with the money transmitting business registration requirements under section 5330 of title 31, United States Code, or regulations prescribed under such section; or
(C) otherwise involves the transportation or transmission of funds that are known to the defendant to have been derived from a criminal offense or are intended to be used to promote or support unlawful activity;
(2) the term “money transmitting” includes transferring funds on behalf of the public by any and all means including but not limited to transfers within this country or to locations abroad by wire, check, draft, facsimile, or courier; and
(3) the term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.




They dont follow their own laws. If they want to take you down they will find something. Tax evasion, frame you for drugs, terrorism or put child porn on your computer. The list of dirty tricks is endless.
Giulio Prisco
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February 11, 2011, 04:30:05 PM
 #24

Seasteading isn't a new idea. However, that website is new and particularly interesting to me. Thanks! Smiley I'll check it out in more detail. It reminds me of the Freedom Ship. Too bad it couldn't raise enough capital. :/

Robert Menard's work is only the very tip of the iceberg. His works are a great starting place, however he doesn't have all of the answers. To gain a complete and concise understanding one must spend a lot of time researching law, history, and religion. Funny how all three are so intertwined. Tongue


See http://seasteading.org/
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March 05, 2011, 07:08:33 AM
 #25

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 95 > § 1960  - Wouldn't apply because BitCoin is not recognized as Money because:

The legal tender of the U.S. or of any foreign country, or any counterfeit thereof. 18 USC

Gold, silver, and some other less precious metals, in the progress of civilization and commerce, have become the common standards of value; in order to avoid the delay and inconvenience of regulating their weight and quality whenever passed, the governments of the civilized world have caused them to be manufactured in certain portions, and marked with a Stamp which attests their value; this is called money.For many purposes, bank notes, a check, and negotiable notes will be so considered. To support a count for money had and received, the receipt by the defendant of bank notes, promissory notes, credit in account, in the books of a third person, or any chattel, is sufficient and will be treated as money.The Constitution of the United States has vested in congress the power "to coin money, and regulate the value thereof." Art. I, s. 8.



BitCoin doesn't even have physical form. But technically we are globally trading un-couterfitable monopoly money. But Local Money is also being created in certain area like Massachusetts etc...  Which is fine, but it will not be treated as Money in a Federal Court, maybe the state court or local court.

The big thing here, is that if it works, even if they wanted to regulate it, they can't. It would sort of be like outlawing Air. Only way to stop it would be to turn of the net.

Net Worth = 0.10    Hah, "Net" worth Smiley
mizerydearia
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March 08, 2011, 09:07:41 AM
 #26

I am not a lawyer.

But it looks to me like No, just running Bitcoin doesn't make you a "money transmitting business."  To be a "business" you have to be charging people for your service.

If you're running Bitcoin to buy or sell goods or services in exchange for bitcoins, I'd say you're not in the money transmitting business.

However, if I were to start a company in the business of buying and selling Bitcoins, or that was a Bitcoin payment processing intermediary that took a percentage of transactions between buyers and sellers, I'd talk to a lawyer and jump through all the legal hoops (looks like here in Massachusetts I'd need a license and would have to post a $50,000 bond).

Or to put it in more concrete terms:  I am not a money transmitting business when I use my credit card to pay for something from Amazon.com.
And Amazon.com is not a money transmitting business just because they accept payments.

However, Amazon Payments, Inc. (Amazon's Paypal competitor) is licensed as a money service business in a bunch of US states.


So, the site I have been working on is illegal?  Other than kidnapping, confiscation of my technological equipment (and anything else that is noticably deemed of value), fines, imprisonment, torture and possibly death, what is there I should be concerned about?


User 'The Madhatter' has blocked your personal message.

Hiya.  I just read your post at http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=227.msg1908#msg1908 and found it very informative and well-written.  Is it possible I could interest you in writing for witcoin? ^_^
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Clever saying.


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March 09, 2011, 08:48:07 PM
 #27

MadHatter posted this in another thread.

Hello all,

I don't get a chance to login to the forum as often as I'd like to anymore. I am far to busy running my Bitcoin empire. Tongue

I have disabled forum PMs for the time being because the PM email notification doesn't seem to work.

For questions/support/etc please email me. My email address and PGP key can be found on the Bitcoin4Cash site.

Thanks! Smiley
The Madhatter

http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3921.msg55819#msg55819

My Canary: I will never ask for a loan or offer escrow services. If someone does with this account, consider it compromised.
Hal
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March 09, 2011, 09:32:19 PM
 #28

Here is a rather exhaustive analysis of the legality of private currencies in the U.S., by GWU law professor Lewis Solomon:

http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/local_currencies/Book.pdf

He focusses on community "scrip" currencies like Ithaca Hours, and concludes that they are probably legal. One caveat is that the book is from 1995, and of course financial regulations have changed since then. Still community currencies operate in the open, unmolested by the Feds.


Hal Finney
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May 01, 2011, 07:19:36 PM
 #29

I was wondering the legality of this myself, mostly due to the recent conviction of the Liberty Dollar creator for having an alternate money

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110319/NEWS01/110319006/Liberty-Dollar-creator-convicted-federal-court
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May 01, 2011, 07:29:21 PM
 #30

I was wondering the legality of this myself, mostly due to the recent conviction of the Liberty Dollar creator for having an alternate money

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110319/NEWS01/110319006/Liberty-Dollar-creator-convicted-federal-court

In the Liberty Dollar case, the strength of the feds' case was that by calling it a "dollar" and encouraging local merchants to use it and give it as change it amounted to counterfeiting.

I don't see how any plausible charge of counterfeiting can be levelled against any entity for the simple act of participating in the bitcoin network, processing bitcoin transactions, or converting between bitcoin and USD.

If there's any legal vulnerability, I suspect that it's either through money-transfer or securities regulations.  It's difficult to see how bitcoin meets neither a definition as money or a security.  If it's money then processing a block probably defines one as a money-transfer enterprise; if it's a security, then entities converting between bitcoin and USD are probably going to be considered securities broker/dealers.  E-wallet providers who allow customer-to-customer transactions probably qualify for US regulation under both tines of the fork.

(IANAL...)

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May 01, 2011, 07:50:47 PM
 #31

Quote
(1) the term “unlicensed money transmitting business” means a money transmitting business which affects interstate or foreign commerce in any manner or degree and—
(A) is operated without an appropriate money transmitting license in a State where such operation is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony under State law, whether or not the defendant knew that the operation was required to be licensed or that the operation was so punishable;
(B) fails to comply with the money transmitting business registration requirements under section 5330 of title 31, United States Code, or regulations prescribed under such section; or
(C) otherwise involves the transportation or transmission of funds that are known to the defendant to have been derived from a criminal offense or are intended to be used to promote or support unlawful activity;
(2) the term “money transmitting” includes transferring funds on behalf of the public by any and all means including but not limited to transfers within this country or to locations abroad by wire, check, draft, facsimile, or courier; and
(3) the term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

So a Bitcoin miner would qualify, then.


I'm Nathaniel Theis.
Selling 1 BTC for cash near Berkeley, CA
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steelhouse
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May 01, 2011, 08:00:19 PM
 #32

So a Bitcoin miner would qualify, then.
[/quote]

What about Gold or Topps Baseball Cards or Pokemon cards and their manufacturers.  Bitcoin mining is not really even mining it is distributing bitcoins already created.
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May 01, 2011, 08:02:53 PM
 #33

So a Bitcoin miner would qualify, then.
Bitcoin mining is not really even mining it is distributing bitcoins already created.
[/quote]

Exactly, that's the problem.

I'm Nathaniel Theis.
Selling 1 BTC for cash near Berkeley, CA
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May 01, 2011, 08:03:44 PM
 #34

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 95 > § 1960  - Wouldn't apply because BitCoin is not recognized as Money because:

The legal tender of the U.S. or of any foreign country, or any counterfeit thereof. 18 USC

Gold, silver, and some other less precious metals, in the progress of civilization and commerce, have become the common standards of value; in order to avoid the delay and inconvenience of regulating their weight and quality whenever passed, the governments of the civilized world have caused them to be manufactured in certain portions, and marked with a Stamp which attests their value; this is called money.For many purposes, bank notes, a check, and negotiable notes will be so considered. To support a count for money had and received, the receipt by the defendant of bank notes, promissory notes, credit in account, in the books of a third person, or any chattel, is sufficient and will be treated as money.The Constitution of the United States has vested in congress the power "to coin money, and regulate the value thereof." Art. I, s. 8.



BitCoin doesn't even have physical form. But technically we are globally trading un-couterfitable monopoly money. But Local Money is also being created in certain area like Massachusetts etc...  Which is fine, but it will not be treated as Money in a Federal Court, maybe the state court or local court.

The big thing here, is that if it works, even if they wanted to regulate it, they can't. It would sort of be like outlawing Air. Only way to stop it would be to turn of the net.


They dont need to regulate it, they're fine just taxing you on Bit Coins like they tax dollars.
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May 01, 2011, 08:03:51 PM
 #35

Don't worry so much about the legality; if you've not noticed already, you're living under a coporatocracy/financial dictatorship in the USA. Pretty much anything is made illegal or needs to be icenced by the government before you can engage in it.

The government then sells these licences to the corporations who themeselves rig the game through lobbying and writing the legislation.

More and more people are being branded "terrorists" - like the guy of the liberty dollar. He was engaged in non-crime and not harming anyone, all parties willingly used the currency and knew they were not Federal Reserve notes. The Feds can find a jury that will send a kitten to the electric chair - a terrorists kitten at that.

When the time comes, the Feds will find any pretext they like in order to shut down bitcoin. Used by Al-CIA-Duh, money laundering, drug money, terrorists, whatever. At this point the West is morally bankrupt and soon to be financially bankrupt too.

What happens when the crack down on it will be interesting, I predict it will morph over to other jurisdictions, afterall it's a very useful piece of software, even if you just use to manage a baby sitting network!
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May 02, 2011, 01:03:02 AM
 #36

Don't worry so much about the legality; if you've not noticed already, you're living under a coporatocracy/financial dictatorship in the USA. Pretty much anything is made illegal or needs to be icenced by the government before you can engage in it.

The government then sells these licences to the corporations who themeselves rig the game through lobbying and writing the legislation.

More and more people are being branded "terrorists" - like the guy of the liberty dollar. He was engaged in non-crime and not harming anyone, all parties willingly used the currency and knew they were not Federal Reserve notes. The Feds can find a jury that will send a kitten to the electric chair - a terrorists kitten at that.

When the time comes, the Feds will find any pretext they like in order to shut down bitcoin. Used by Al-CIA-Duh, money laundering, drug money, terrorists, whatever. At this point the West is morally bankrupt and soon to be financially bankrupt too.

What happens when the crack down on it will be interesting, I predict it will morph over to other jurisdictions, afterall it's a very useful piece of software, even if you just use to manage a baby sitting network!


If that is what the "West" is; I hate to think what the "East" is.

Net Worth = 0.10    Hah, "Net" worth Smiley
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May 02, 2011, 01:23:13 AM
 #37

If that is what the "West" is; I hate to think what the "East" is.

Like the above but worse, and without even pretending to have justice.

Assets, Bitcoin Bonds.

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May 02, 2011, 02:21:09 AM
 #38

Quote
(1) the term “unlicensed money transmitting business” means a money transmitting business which affects interstate or foreign commerce in any manner or degree and—
(A) is operated without an appropriate money transmitting license in a State where such operation is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony under State law, whether or not the defendant knew that the operation was required to be licensed or that the operation was so punishable;
(B) fails to comply with the money transmitting business registration requirements under section 5330 of title 31, United States Code, or regulations prescribed under such section; or
(C) otherwise involves the transportation or transmission of funds that are known to the defendant to have been derived from a criminal offense or are intended to be used to promote or support unlawful activity;
(2) the term “money transmitting” includes transferring funds on behalf of the public by any and all means including but not limited to transfers within this country or to locations abroad by wire, check, draft, facsimile, or courier; and
(3) the term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

So a Bitcoin miner would qualify, then.



I disagree. The bitcoin mining is legal since they are dealing/transacting purely in bitcoins, an unregulated virtual commodity. Maybe the only part of the network, other than local bitcoin clients and wallets, that is currently indisputably legal.

The exchanges that exchange from fiat currencies into bitcoin are the gray area since they transact in the money of the state.

Personal transactions of small amounts of bitcoin involving state monies are legal in most places.

Merchants accepting bitcoin would do well to check their current, ever-changing laws regarding financial transactions, if they care what the state thinks about how they conduct their business.

Monetary Freedom - a basic human right
"Disarming money as a tool for tyranny."
"Disintermediating the State."
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May 06, 2011, 09:46:51 PM
 #39

When the time comes, the Feds will find any pretext they like in order to shut down bitcoin.

I'm not saying such a thing won't be attempted in the future, but I am curious as how such a thing could succeed, lacking any kind of central entity or server? I just learned about BitCoin but isn't it completely decentralized?

I suppose an order could be made at the ISP level to restrict/cancel any packets that resemble BitCoin packets.
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May 06, 2011, 09:49:17 PM
 #40

When the time comes, the Feds will find any pretext they like in order to shut down bitcoin.

I'm not saying such a thing won't be attempted in the future, but I am curious as how such a thing could succeed, lacking any kind of central entity or server? I just learned about BitCoin but isn't it completely decentralized?

I suppose an order could be made at the ISP level to restrict/cancel any packets that resemble BitCoin packets.

Have you heard about Tor?
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