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Author Topic: List of court cases, complaints, regulatory actions, etc.  (Read 24013 times)
Stephen Gornick
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July 27, 2012, 10:39:49 PM
 #1

[Update Feb 19, 2014:

This thread is no longer being updated all that much. As Bitcoin further permeates the world, most every nation (or state, etc.) will have content specific to that jurisdiction's involvement with Bitcoin.   Feel free to continue posting as you wish, but this thread will no longer be even close to being a comprehensive list as it had been for a period of time.

Other resources:

 - http://bitlegal.net
 - http://www.cryptocoinlaw.net
 - http://twitter.com/virtuallylaw
 - http://BitcoinFoundation.org
 - http://coindesk.com
 - http://datauthority.org (info: http://coindesk.com/bitcoin-industry-leaders-launch-data-a-self-regulatory-body)
 - http://bitcoinfinancialassociation.org
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Compilation_of_legal_and_regulatory_information
]

This list is to serve as an index to all the events in which Bitcoin-related topics interact with the courts, police, regulators, etc.

This is similar to how the NEW Articles in the Press Forum thread serves as an index to media mentions.

Topics related to regulations, taxes, etc. are also cataloged in a Bitcoin.it Wiki article:

Compilation of legal and regulatory information
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Compilation_of_legal_and_regulatory_information

I'm hoping for this thread to remain an index, mostly with just a brief summation and then links towards other threads and external sources -- rather than be where discussion for each index entry occurs.   If an entry is made, feel free to reply with a link to a relevant thread where further discussion occurs or to other related content.

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July 27, 2012, 10:41:20 PM
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Bitcoin in France: first legal decision directly related to Bitcoin?
Sep. 4, 2011
Location: France

Abstract: Mt. Gox fights for its right to hold a bank account in France.

 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=41317.0
 - http://creperso.free.fr/CIC/Ordonnance_de_refere_du_11_aout_2011.pdf (Municipal court decision)
 - http://creperso.free.fr/CIC/Arret_appel_26_aout_2011.pdf (Appeals court decision)

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July 27, 2012, 10:45:12 PM
 #3

Press Release - TradeHill, Inc. Files Suit Against Dwolla, Inc.
Mar 6, 2012
Location: Suit filed in California, U.S.

Abstract: Dwolla allegedly reversed transactions. TradeHill asserts Dwolla promoted its service as being like cash with no chargebacks and sues for damages.


 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=67625.0

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July 27, 2012, 10:50:02 PM
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An interesting read about Bitcoin & legislation...
Oct. 26, 2011
Location: UK

Abstract: (Allegedly) the British regulator FSA responds to a question regarding Bitcoin's legal status as a monetary instrument.

 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=49862.0

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July 27, 2012, 10:52:10 PM
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Bitcoin FBI Report April 2012
May 8, 2012
Location: U.S. agency, International distribution

Abstract: (Allegedly) The FBI provides analysis of bitcoin for distribution to an international audience

 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=80114.0

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July 27, 2012, 11:31:30 PM
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Disclosure Group Investment Bitcoin barred by the CVM in Brazil
Jul. 25, 2012
Location: Brazil

Abstract: CVM (securities regulator in Brazil) decided that the Brazilian operator of a bitcoin-based "investment group" was violating securities law there and had to suspend the group.

 - http://www.bitcoinbrasil.com.br/?p=464
 - http://www.bitcoinmoney.com/post/28048708075
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=95399.0

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July 29, 2012, 02:44:35 AM
 #7

FinCEN - Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request:
"The application of money transmitter and foreign exchange ("forex") regulations to de-centralized, virtual currency."
Jun 29, 2012
Location: United States

Abstract: Gavin Andresen gets a response from FinCEN following a FOIA request:

 - http://dl.dropbox.com/u/38065353/FincenFOIA.pdf
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=74922.msg1035436#msg1035436

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July 29, 2012, 03:05:07 AM
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Finanstilsynet - The Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway
RAPPORT RISIKO- OG SÅRBARHETSANALYSE (ROS)
March, 2012

Abstract: The financial supervisory authority of Norway publishes a Risk and Vulnerability analysis and references Bitcoin under "2.4.3 titled 'Shadow services on the internet'".  Includes only a description (an inaccurate one at that) of Bitcoin.

 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=96077.0
 - http://www.finanstilsynet.no/Global/Venstremeny/Rapport/2012/ROS-analyse_2011.pdf

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July 31, 2012, 07:53:36 PM
 #9

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
Money Laundering and Terrorist Activity Financing Watch
April-June 2011

Abstract:

Mentions Bitcoin as "Bitcoins: a new anonymous digital currency and a potential vehicle for criminals to transfer money:"

English:
http://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca/publications/watch-regard/2011-10-eng.asp
French:
http://www.canafe-fintrac.gc.ca/publications/watch-regard/2011-10-fra.asp

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August 05, 2012, 07:13:16 AM
 #10

Congressman Ron Paul's Final Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee Hearing
Aug 2, 2012
Location: United States

Abstract: Ron Paul's subcommittee met on August 2nd, 2012 to examine sound money and parallel currencies.

 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPCFKHCCKF0&feature=player_detailpage#t=2918s

Bitcoin touched on beginning around 48:38 and it was referred to in the context of being a barter currency.

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August 19, 2012, 08:51:30 AM
 #11

Title: BRIAN CARTMELL et al VS. BITCOINICA LP, ALSO KNOWN AS BITCOINICA et al
Cause of Action: CONTRACT/WARRANTY
Case Number: CGC-12-522983
Location: Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco
August 6, 2012

Abstract: Suit to recover $460,458 in costs and damages from Bitcoinica.

 - http://webaccess.sftc.org/Scripts/Magic94/mgrqispi94.dll?APPNAME=IJS&PRGNAME=ROA22&ARGUMENTS=-ACGC12522983
 - http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19244210

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August 30, 2012, 12:26:05 AM
 #12

Bitcoin for campaign contributions passes muster with NH Deputy Secretary of State
August 29, 2012
Location: New Hampshire, U.S.

Abstract: NH State Representative Mark Warden consulted with NH Deputy Secretary of State regarding whether bitcoins can be a method for campaign donations.

 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=104544.0


Conclusion:

OK as long as:

1. Donations be accompanied by the donor's name and address, and
2. Contributions are acceptable only from US citizens and permanent residents.

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September 06, 2012, 11:13:42 PM
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BitFloor files complaint with FBI and Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
September 6, 2012
Location: New York City, NY USA

Abstract: BitFloor suffered a security breach/hack in which about 24,000 BTC were stolen after access by the hacker was obtained to an unencrypted backup copy of the private keys hosted on BitFloor's systems.  The exchange is essentially insolvent as a result and remains shuttered, except for facilitating withdrawals for the funds that weren't stolen -- the U.S. dollar balances, none of which were impacted as a result of the security breach.

 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=106251.0

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October 20, 2012, 08:04:35 PM
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BaFin deems Bitcoin as "unit of account", financial service providers thus regulated by the Banking Act (KWG)
October, 2012
Location: Germany

Abstract: It appears that any business operating out of Germany (or, maybe even more broadly, a business with German customers) that holds customer's bitcoins is regulated as a bank (presumably, that means must obtain a banking license).   [Based on the translation to English from German, which may have changed the the meaning from the original, so this may be not completely accurate.]

The following appears to be the response to an inquiry sent to BaFin regarding bitcoins:

There is something stated in this Google translate article.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=119270.0

If you have questions about specific sections, I can translate them manually.

Basically the BAFIN (German bank regulation) has stated, that service providers, that hold customer funds fall under the definition of a financial services business and therefore require a license to do so.

They also stated that Bitcoin (they stated Crypto Currecys) is indeed a monetary value and therefore falls under the definition of a electronic instrument of payment. That also implies, that BTC service providers fall under the definition of a financial services business.


An article in which this was discussed:

Quote
However, the BaFin Bitcoins sees as a "unit of account", which is regulated by the Banking Act (KWG). After that, anyone who wishes to provide certain professional services in connection with Bitcoins, first obtain a license from BaFin. Ultimately, the Bitcoin system is a multilateral trading system that requires such a permit. So it looks anyway BaFin. The more difficult it would be to identify in a decentralized system like Bitcoin, the responsible persons must apply for the relevant banking licenses.

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fix%2Fartikel%2FWaehrungsrisiken-1723975.html&act=url

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October 20, 2012, 08:19:59 PM
 #15

Statement by Päivi Heikkinen, department head of (Financial Markets Infrastructure) at Bank of Finland
September, 2012
Location: Finland

Abstract: A reporter asks if Bitcoin is illegal.  Ms. Heikkinen responds [Translated from Finnish] "Not at all, People can invest in and use any money they prefer."

Heikkinen: Not at all, People can invest in and use any money they prefer.
Heikkinen: Finland is a free country, after all.

 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vYH1JH73pw#t=206s  <-- Enabled closed captioning [CC] at the bottom of the video.


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October 29, 2012, 04:42:25 AM
 #16

Bitcoin - Currency of Cyberspace (Italian)
October, 2012
Location: Italy

Abstract: The domestic secret police / intelligence agency of Italy provides an overview of Bitcoin.  They highlight the ways in which Bitcoin either defeats or bypasses methods of control that regulators enjoy through the banking-system.  For instance, the UIGEA which helped eliminate sources of revenue for online gambling in the U.S. is not a deterrent to Bitcoin-based online gambling.

The report is a little over the top though ... [Is Bitcoin Magazine's choice of a Guy Fawkes mask for the cover of its initial issue] the announcement of the extension of the potential of the most insidious and dangerous group of cyberattivistists?

 - http://gnosis.aisi.gov.it/gnosis/Rivista31.nsf/ServNavig/11

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October 29, 2012, 07:46:39 PM
 #17

Virtual Currency Schemes, by the European Central Bank (ECB)
October, 2012
Location: Europe

Abstract: This report presents includes a comprehensive look at Bitcoin and provides an assessment of the relevance of virtual currency schemes for central banks, paying attention mostly to schemes which are more open and linked to the real economy.  The assessment covers the stability of prices, of the financial system and of the payment system, looking also at the regulatory perspective. It also addresses reputational risk concerns.

Length: 55 Pages.

 - http://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/other/virtualcurrencyschemes201210en.pdf
 - http://docs.google.com/viewer?url=www.ecb.europa.eu%2Fpub%2Fpdf%2Fother%2Fvirtualcurrencyschemes201210en.pdf  <-- In a web-viewer


Forum discussion of the report here:
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=121186.0

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November 13, 2012, 10:26:34 AM
 #18

Search and Seizure Warrant, by U.S. District Court (Middle District, TN)
September 13, 2012
Location: Franklin, TN, USA

Abstract: The U.S. Secret Service, investigating the Romney tax return extortion attempt, obtains a search warrant to allow for the seizure of Michael M. Brown's Bitcoin wallet.  They did seize much computer equipment, some personal effects and a notepaper containing passwords.

 - http://mbdonationfund.com/images/documents/search_warrant.pdf

Further discussion here:

Quote
The Plot Thickens in the Bizarre Bitcoin Blackmail Caper
- http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=123956.0

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January 31, 2013, 04:27:16 AM
 #19

This one isn't about bitcoin itself, but bitcoin was mentioned as the currency used.

Australia court Silk Road
January, 2013
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Abstract: An Australian court hearing involving a man who admitted dealing drugs that were obtained through Silk Road using bitcoins as payment.

Quote
Melbourne's County Court heard the black-market Silk Road had been described as a "certifiable one-stop shop" for illicit drugs.
[...]
Prosecutor Morgan Brown told the court the website was accessed by software designed to enable online anonymity and a digital "virtual currency", Bitcoin, was used to buy goods.
[...]
In what could be the first prosecution with Silk Road a major player, Ms Brown told the court that in two months from March last year Howard imported drugs 11 times.

Secret website harboured drugs smorgasbord, court hears
 - http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/1270129/secret-website-harboured-drugs-smorgasbord-court-hears

Further discussion:

2013-01-31 bordermail.com.au - Secret website harboured drugs smorgasbord, court
 - http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=140111.0

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March 20, 2013, 04:16:03 AM
 #20

Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies
March 18, 2013
Location: USA

Abstract: The U.S. Dept. of Treasury's FinCEN has provided its guidance relating to virtual currencies (presumably including Bitcoin).

 - http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G001.html

Further discussion here:

FinCEN addresses Bitcoin
- http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=154672.0

Today, we are all money transmitters… (no, really!)
Patrick Murck, Bitcoin Foundation general counsel
 - https://bitcoinfoundation.org/blog/?p=152

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