Bitcoin is, indeed, a legitimate form of money. That’s the word that came down from U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan who sits on a federal court in Manhattan.

While word of Bitcoin’s legal legitimacy likely comes as good news to fans of the crypto-currency, it’s bad news for Anthony Murgio.

Murgio is the defendant in a case before Judge Nathan’s court involving the operation of an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange with alleged links to extensive financial fraud and computer hacking.

Murgio’s lawyers put forth the argument that Bitcoin does not meet the legal definition of “funds” for the purposes of money transmitting businesses. As such, they wanted two of the eight charges leveled against their client thrown out of court.

In her ruling, as reported on by Reuters, Judge Natahn quickly dispensed any notions that digital cash is a protection from the long arm of the law saying:

Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term. Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment.

Murgio’s lawyers can hardly be blamed for trotting out the Bitcoin-isn’t-money argument. Earlier this year, a Florida man walked away from money laundering charges involving Bitcoin when Circuit Court Judge Teresa Pooler declared that Bitcoin does not meet the legal definition of money.

According to Reuters, Murgio maintains his innocence in the case and is looking forward to his day in court.


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