Florida Court Ruling Makes Unregulated Bitcoin Sales Illegal



Last Updated: February 3, 2019 at 2:05 PM EST
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Law enforcement agency can now target unregulated sales of cryptocurrency according to a recent ruling of a Florida court on Wednesday. The ruling was in the case of a Miami Beachman selling Bitcoin to an undercover detective.

Enabling Law Enforcement Agency To Target Unregulated Crypto Sales

In a previous ruling in 2016, a Miami-Dade circuit judge threw out the charges against Espinoza, agreeing with a defence expert that said bitcoins are nothing more than “poker chips that people are willing to buy from you.” However, a recent ruling stated that Espinoza, made a profit from selling bitcoins to an undercover Miami Beach detective, and this qualified it as an unregulated “money transmitting” and should have registered with Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation.

The ruling further noted that Espinoza’s Bitcoin for cash business requires him to register as a payment instrument seller and money transmitter under the Florida law. There is a need to register in as much as it is not personal Bitcoin being sold, but is sold for a profit or marketing a business.

Espinoza was found on a Bitcoin exchange site LocalBitcoins.com in 2014 marketing Bitcoin while asking clients to meet him at Starbucks, internet cafe, restaurant, mall or bank and charge a fee for the transaction. In the fire transaction with Miami Beach Detective Ricardo Arias posing as an undercover took place at a shop. It involved $416.12 worth of Bitcoin which the detective paid $500, and Espinoza earned a sum of $83.17.

In the second transaction at a South Beach, ice-cream shop paid the sum of $1,000 for bitcoins, and Espinoza earned the sum of $167.56. Espinoza was further involved in two other transactions in which the police apprehended him.

Crypto Usage and Lack of Definition

Lack of Crypto definition and appropriate regulation has made the digital currency usage and patronage a dicey. Cryptocurrency sees more patronage for the transaction because of its advantage for one on one transactions to buy goods and services and exchange money across borders without involving banks, credit card issuers or other parties.

However, the latest development according to the ruling of the Florida court showcase the advancement in the interest of the government in cryptocurrency. Charles Evans, a Barry University economics professor that served as a defence witness though disagrees with the court on the ruling noted that the virtual currency is finally starting to grow up. He further stated that the wild west days are over and the regulators and prosecutors are trying to bring orders to all the chaos, and the ruling is part of the process.