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Author Topic: Is Bitcoin legally a Currency?  (Read 3678 times)
NewLiberty
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July 06, 2013, 07:53:30 PM
 #21

If he is who he appears to be, he's one of our heroes.
Or at least for those of us old enough to remember BITNET.
Still, I found the exact picture used in the profile in a Google Images search.  This forum doesn't verify you are who you say you are when you sign up.
Plus it's unusual for someone to actually use their real name.
It wasn't always unusual to use our real names online. 

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odolvlobo
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July 06, 2013, 07:56:39 PM
 #22

The thing is, just because Bitcoin is popular is no reason to start forcing regulation on a digital commodity. Bitcoin is essentially a number on a computer screen. I can write a number on a piece of paper and sell it to you for $500. It's the same thing in my opinion.

That's not a very strong argument if you accept that official currencies can be regulated. Most official currencies are also just numbers in a computer. Try replacing "bitcoin" with "euro" in your statement.

There is an important distinction to be made. Due to Bitcoin's decentralized nature, it is nearly impossible for a country or group of countries to regulate Bitcoin itself. However, regulation by a country of the people that use bitcoins (within its jurisdiction) is inevitable.

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July 06, 2013, 07:58:26 PM
 #23

If he is who he appears to be, he's one of our heroes.
Or at least for those of us old enough to remember BITNET.

Still, I found the exact picture used in the profile in a Google Images search.  This forum doesn't verify you are who you say you are when you sign up.

Plus it's unusual for someone to actually use their real name.

Of course it's not him, ffs.  The real one is an old academic -- old enough to capitalize & use proper grammar when he types.  This is a smartphone baby.
[ S]He spews out boilerplate cliches with 0 depth or insight, and his vocab is that of a fourteen-year-old reaching for adult-sounding words.  
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July 29, 2013, 08:55:51 AM
 #24

Bitcoin is not a real money, it's an online money or virtual tokens alternative to dollar and euros it can be exchanged for goods and services at places that accept it. Bitcoin is a decentralized currency meaning there are no central bank to regulate it it more a p2p transaction.

As long as the virtual currency is accepted to your country then it is legal, besides many people are using it. However bitcoins popularity is unstoppable there are a lot of news going on about it's legality

erk
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August 07, 2013, 04:36:44 AM
 #25

Bitcoin is not a real money, it's an online money or virtual tokens alternative to dollar and euros it can be exchanged for goods and services at places that accept it. Bitcoin is a decentralized currency meaning there are no central bank to regulate it it more a p2p transaction.

As long as the virtual currency is accepted to your country then it is legal, besides many people are using it. However bitcoins popularity is unstoppable there are a lot of news going on about it's legality


Bitcoin is money according to one ruling:

www.courthousenews.com/2013/08/06/Bitcoin.pdf

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August 07, 2013, 12:46:15 PM
 #26

Page 3:
"Therefore, Bitcoin is a currency or form of money, and investors wishing to invest in BTCST provided an investment of money."
(Asserted by AMOS L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE in court opinion order establishing jurisdiction)

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August 12, 2013, 05:01:28 PM
 #27

I believe that the Bitcoin Foundation's argument is that in California BTC doesn't meet the definition of a currency.
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August 12, 2013, 08:09:21 PM
 #28

I believe that the Bitcoin Foundation's argument is that in California BTC doesn't meet the definition of a currency.
That's irrelevant as it never went to court therefore it's not case law like the Texas ruling is.

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August 12, 2013, 09:55:14 PM
 #29

I believe that the Bitcoin Foundation's argument is that in California BTC doesn't meet the definition of a currency.
That's irrelevant as it never went to court therefore it's not case law like the Texas ruling is.



Eh... I'd barely call what was done in Texas "case law". It was an opinion by a magistrate judge in one federal judicial district. Magistrate judges -- while technically possessing all the adjudicative powers of district judges over cases they're assigned to -- aren't confirmed by the Senate and their opinions are rarely cited as "case law", merely "persuasive authority", even in the districts they are in. I am not going to research specifically whether magistrate opinions are even publishable (other than on the case docket), further restricting their precedential value; it won't surprise me either way.

Regardless, this judge barely analyzed whether bitcoin is money, because it pretty obviously is. Any other judge that's faced with the question will likely rule the exact same way.
NewLiberty
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August 12, 2013, 10:02:41 PM
 #30

Yes, that is not a decided case,  nor appellate reviewed (which is something you really want if you are looking for a strong precedent).

The question of "legally a currency" is a strange one to raise.  Law is defined by geography so depending on where your feet are at the moment, the answer can change.  Whether it is a "currency" or not isn't even much of a matter of law as there is very little law on currency.  There is law on "current money" which is a very different thing.  
A better question would be whether Bitcoin has "value" under the law, and that is clearly a yes is most jurisdictions that will matter.  Value can give you standing before the law, as losses, damages, and enforcement will all hinge on this.  Chickens can be a currency, hugs can be a currency, whether or not Bitcoin is a currency is not so important to the law. What matters more is value.

What irked me a bit was the weird logic used by the defendant using outdated literature that said that Bitcoin had no specie, and that this would count against it as to whether it was money.
It now does have specie.
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=269535.msg2883593#msg2883593

And, for what it is worth.  The USA Federal Reserve Notes don't have any specie either.

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August 12, 2013, 11:00:22 PM
 #31

I believe that the Bitcoin Foundation's argument is that in California BTC doesn't meet the definition of a currency.
That's irrelevant as it never went to court therefore it's not case law like the Texas ruling is.

I've read various portions of California law and they are very explicit. They uniformly define "money" as something authorized by the U.S. or foreign governments. The laws distinguish between "money" and "monetary value", and in many cases the two are treated differently. Granted, these definitions apply only to the specific context (in this case, California financial regulations).

From the California Financial Code
2000.  This division shall be known and may be cited as the Money Transmission Act.
...
2003.  For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply:
...
(m) "Monetary value" means a medium of exchange, whether or not redeemable in money.
(n) "Money" means a medium of exchange that is authorized or adopted by the United States or a foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement  between two or more governments.

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erk
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August 12, 2013, 11:14:13 PM
 #32

I believe that the Bitcoin Foundation's argument is that in California BTC doesn't meet the definition of a currency.
That's irrelevant as it never went to court therefore it's not case law like the Texas ruling is.

I've read various portions of California law and they are very explicit. They uniformly define "money" as something authorized by the U.S. or foreign governments. The laws distinguish between "money" and "monetary value", and in many cases the two are treated differently. Granted, these definitions apply only to the specific context (in this case, California financial regulations).

From the California Financial Code
2000.  This division shall be known and may be cited as the Money Transmission Act.
...
2003.  For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply:
...
(m) "Monetary value" means a medium of exchange, whether or not redeemable in money.
(n) "Money" means a medium of exchange that is authorized or adopted by the United States or a foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement  between two or more governments.
So next you need to look at the definition of "authorized or adopted by the United States".

NewLiberty
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August 13, 2013, 12:06:53 AM
 #33

I believe that the Bitcoin Foundation's argument is that in California BTC doesn't meet the definition of a currency.
That's irrelevant as it never went to court therefore it's not case law like the Texas ruling is.

I've read various portions of California law and they are very explicit. They uniformly define "money" as something authorized by the U.S. or foreign governments. The laws distinguish between "money" and "monetary value", and in many cases the two are treated differently. Granted, these definitions apply only to the specific context (in this case, California financial regulations).

From the California Financial Code
2000.  This division shall be known and may be cited as the Money Transmission Act.
...
2003.  For purposes of this division, the following definitions shall apply:
...
(m) "Monetary value" means a medium of exchange, whether or not redeemable in money.
(n) "Money" means a medium of exchange that is authorized or adopted by the United States or a foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement  between two or more governments.
So next you need to look at the definition of "authorized or adopted by the United States".

Since California relies on the US Federal for this, for that geography, there is a strong argument to be made that anything that requires authorization by the US Federal FinCEN as a MSB is an example of "authorized by the United States".   This is far from a decided issue, as the FinCEN guidance is yet to be formalized by either the legislative branch or judicial. 

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August 13, 2013, 12:25:31 AM
 #34

But miners aren't creating bitcoins; Satoshi was the only person ever creating bitcoins, when he started the blockchain; miners are simply finding the bitcoins that have always existed in the protocol...

(I dont always get new reply notifications, pls send a pm when you think it has happened)

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August 14, 2013, 02:54:13 PM
 #35

Re: Is Bitcoin legally a Currency?

What has historically made a currency legitimate is the ability to pay perceived tax obligations, so no, Bitcoin is not a currency, because currently no taxing authority will accept it..

In the USA the US Dollar must be accepted for existing debt, under law and criminal penalties if not, so it appears the modern definition, at least in the USA, is to pay existing debt byway of coercive threat of force/death.
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August 15, 2013, 07:07:53 AM
 #36

Re: Is Bitcoin legally a Currency?

What has historically made a currency legitimate is the ability to pay perceived tax obligations, so no, Bitcoin is not a currency, because currently no taxing authority will accept it..

In the USA the US Dollar must be accepted for existing debt, under law and criminal penalties if not, so it appears the modern definition, at least in the USA, is to pay existing debt byway of coercive threat of force/death.

Some might confuse "currency" with "legal tender".  The meaning is as distinct as the spelling.
The first has a practical definition, the second a legal one.
There are private currencies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_currency
(Hey look, Liberty Dollar made the list and not yet Bitcoin?  Someone should update it.)

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August 15, 2013, 05:42:37 PM
 #37

Re: Is Bitcoin legally a Currency?

What has historically made a currency legitimate defacto is the ability to pay perceived tax obligations, so no, Bitcoin is not a currency, because currently no taxing authority will accept it..

In the USA the US Dollar must be accepted for existing debt, under law and criminal penalties if not, so it appears the modern definition, at least in the USA, is to pay existing debt byway of coercive threat of force/death.

Some might confuse "currency" with "legal tender".  The meaning is as distinct as the spelling.
The first has a practical definition, the second a legal one.
There are private currencies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_currency
(Hey look, Liberty Dollar made the list and not yet Bitcoin?  Someone should update it.)

Then I guess the hinge-pin is my use of the word 'legitimate'. Allow me to replace that with 'defacto'.

Bottom line at the end of the day is mean men with guns will kill me if I dont pay them with it and resist their attempts to imprison me for my inaction, which realistically requires me to earn it and use it, or I could go to prison or die, because they never deescalate or back off until equal-to-greater force is applied. They will keep sending more and more men until I pay, am in prison or dead. Then they take my property away from my heirs, sell it and recoup my refusal to obey.

So, for my purposes, I meant a currency you can pay Caesar what is Caesar's with.

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August 15, 2013, 08:03:34 PM
 #38

Re: Is Bitcoin legally a Currency?

What has historically made a currency legitimate defacto is the ability to pay perceived tax obligations, so no, Bitcoin is not a currency, because currently no taxing authority will accept it..

In the USA the US Dollar must be accepted for existing debt, under law and criminal penalties if not, so it appears the modern definition, at least in the USA, is to pay existing debt byway of coercive threat of force/death.

Some might confuse "currency" with "legal tender".  The meaning is as distinct as the spelling.
The first has a practical definition, the second a legal one.
There are private currencies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_currency
(Hey look, Liberty Dollar made the list and not yet Bitcoin?  Someone should update it.)

Then I guess the hinge-pin is my use of the word 'legitimate'. Allow me to replace that with 'defacto'.

Bottom line at the end of the day is mean men with guns will kill me if I dont pay them with it and resist their attempts to imprison me for my inaction, which realistically requires me to earn it and use it, or I could go to prison or die, because they never deescalate or back off until equal-to-greater force is applied. They will keep sending more and more men until I pay, am in prison or dead. Then they take my property away from my heirs, sell it and recoup my refusal to obey.

So, for my purposes, I meant a currency you can pay Caesar what is Caesar's with.

You maintain the confusion between terms.  Your description is of legal tender, and nothing really to do with currencies, legitimate, defacto or otherwise.
That a particular currency is legal tender within a geographic region does nothing to invalidate all other currencies that may be bartered about.  Legal tender just means that it can settle a debt under the law, such as a tax debt, which you can get by hanging out in an area with a government that taxes people.  Legal tender also means that you are obliged to accept it to settle any other debt.  It does not require you to transact using it, only to not refuse it if used to pay a debt (you can't require BTCBTC instead if $$ are offered) unless these are specific terms in a contract, and if that contract gets litigated, it will likely end up being $$ anyway as "specific performance" (another legal term that can require a different payment) is much more difficult to get from a judge.

Look at other debts such as a restaurant bill.  The restaurant is required to accept legal tender if paid, but is free to accept dishwashing, a good review in a magazine, hugs or anything else they might choose.  So dishwashing can be a currency.  What makes a currency is the fluidity by which transactions can occur with it.  Like the current in a river, the more money flow, the more defacto it is a currency.  

So bitcoin is a "currency" but there is nothing either illegitimate or legitimate about that term.  50K transactions a day make it a pretty good one (though maybe not as good as hugs).  Currency is not a legal term of art in the way that "legal tender" or "current money" are.

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August 15, 2013, 10:05:46 PM
 #39

So next you need to look at the definition of "authorized or adopted by the United States".

I don't know that anyone would argue that BTC is authorized or adopted by the United States.
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August 16, 2013, 03:29:17 AM
 #40

Re: Is Bitcoin legally a Currency?

What has historically made a currency legitimate defacto is the ability to pay perceived tax obligations, so no, Bitcoin is not a currency, because currently no taxing authority will accept it..

In the USA the US Dollar must be accepted for existing debt, under law and criminal penalties if not, so it appears the modern definition, at least in the USA, is to pay existing debt byway of coercive threat of force/death.

Some might confuse "currency" with "legal tender".  The meaning is as distinct as the spelling.
The first has a practical definition, the second a legal one.
There are private currencies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_currency
(Hey look, Liberty Dollar made the list and not yet Bitcoin?  Someone should update it.)

Then I guess the hinge-pin is my use of the word 'legitimate'. Allow me to replace that with 'defacto'.

Bottom line at the end of the day is mean men with guns will kill me if I dont pay them with it and resist their attempts to imprison me for my inaction, which realistically requires me to earn it and use it, or I could go to prison or die, because they never deescalate or back off until equal-to-greater force is applied. They will keep sending more and more men until I pay, am in prison or dead. Then they take my property away from my heirs, sell it and recoup my refusal to obey.

So, for my purposes, I meant a currency you can pay Caesar what is Caesar's with.

You maintain the confusion between terms.  Your description is of legal tender, and nothing really to do with currencies, legitimate, defacto or otherwise.
That a particular currency is legal tender within a geographic region does nothing to invalidate all other currencies that may be bartered about.  Legal tender just means that it can settle a debt under the law, such as a tax debt, which you can get by hanging out in an area with a government that taxes people.  Legal tender also means that you are obliged to accept it to settle any other debt.  It does not require you to transact using it, only to not refuse it if used to pay a debt (you can't require BTCBTC instead if $$ are offered) unless these are specific terms in a contract, and if that contract gets litigated, it will likely end up being $$ anyway as "specific performance" (another legal term that can require a different payment) is much more difficult to get from a judge.

Look at other debts such as a restaurant bill.  The restaurant is required to accept legal tender if paid, but is free to accept dishwashing, a good review in a magazine, hugs or anything else they might choose.  So dishwashing can be a currency.  What makes a currency is the fluidity by which transactions can occur with it.  Like the current in a river, the more money flow, the more defacto it is a currency.  

So bitcoin is a "currency" but there is nothing either illegitimate or legitimate about that term.  50K transactions a day make it a pretty good one (though maybe not as good as hugs).  Currency is not a legal term of art in the way that "legal tender" or "current money" are.

Not in history prior to recent legal tender laws. If you could pay your taxes, the currency was acceptable anywhere and by everyone in the land. That is true today as well. I was not arguing that there were not other forms of currency, but valid to me means I can live on it. You cant live lawfully and without charity on a currency that is not accepted for everything, everywhere by everyone, especially taxes. It requires conversion. In that context, Bitcoin is indeed illegitimate/invalid, Yes, I know I can jump through all sorts of fancy hoops to convert it. That isnt the point.
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