The virtual currency known as Bitcoin is a form of “money” covered under the Washington, D.C., Money Transmitters Act, a federal court said Friday.
The court declined to dismiss criminal charges against Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of an underground Bitcoin trading platform, for running an unlicensed money transmitting business under D.C. law and for laundering money under federal law.
Money “commonly means a medium of exchange, method of payment, or store of value,” Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell wrote for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “Bitcoin is these things.”
The D.C. law adopts that meaning even though it doesn’t strictly define “money,” the court said.
The service, located on the Darknet, was allegedly advertised as a way to mask drug, gun, or other illegal transactions from law enforcement. It was used to exchange the equivalent of around $311 million dollars between 2014 and 2017, the indictment said.
The case is United States v. Harmon, D.D.C., No. 19-cr-395, 7/24/20.