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Bitcoin Is Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business, Says US Court

The United States Federal Court has said that Bitcoin is an `unlicensed money transmitting business´ under applicable federal law.”

It said on Friday: “After examination of the relevant statutes, case law, and other sources, the Court concludes that bitcoin is money under the Money Transmitters Act (MTA) and that Helix, as described in the indictment, was an `unlicensed money transmitting business´ under applicable federal law.”

The court made this conclusion as it denied a motion to dismiss criminal charges against Larry Dean Harmon, the operator of an underground bitcoin trading platform.

In December 2019, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted Harmon for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, in violation of state laws. However, Harmon moved to dismiss citing “failure to state an offence.”

Harmon’s move forced the court to determine if bitcoin met the definition of money for purposes of the District of Columbia’s MTA.

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Bitcoin.com reports that the court states: “After examination of the relevant statutes, case law, and other sources, the Court concludes that bitcoin is money under the MTA and that Helix, as described in the indictment, was an `unlicensed money transmitting business´ under applicable federal law.”

The court also points out that Harmon himself never disputes that “bitcoin is money as that term is ordinarily used.”

Harmon’s motion to dismiss all charges against him was denied.

According to court documents, Harmon’s operation, Helix—a darknet service—enabled customers, for a fee, to send bitcoins to designated recipients in a manner which was designed to conceal and obfuscate the source or owner of the bitcoins.

Helix was shut down in 2017 while Harmon was arrested in February 2020.

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