Earlier today, Washington D.C. court case saw a person prosecuted on multiple counts for operating a Bitcoin [BTC] tumbler – a way of hiding Bitcoin transactions.
The court charged the defendant on three counts earlier in December last year, including operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, as a recent 24th July court document revealed.
The document added:
“After examination of the relevant statutes, case law, and other sources, the Court concludes that bitcoin is money under the MTA & that Helix, as described within the indictment, was an ‘unlicensed money transmitting business’ under applicable federal law.”
Although this particular instance appears to be a ruling in favor of Bitcoin’s classification as money, present law requires a money transmission when handling Bitcoin, even if the coin isn’t technically under a monetary classification.
Bitcoin Tumbler Service – Helix
The defendant, Larry Dean Harmon, within the case, allegedly ran a Bitcoin tumbler business, named Helix, on the dark web. Such mixers muddy the info around Bitcoin transactions, making traceability difficult, the court document revealed.
Harmon saw roughly 354,468 BTC [worth about $3.4 Bln at the reporting time] flow via his business from 2014 to 2017, the document included.
Washington D.C. courts accused Harmon of three separate illegal acts: Conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business & interesting engaging in money transmission business without a license.
Bitcoin Classification As Money
Harmon lobbied against two of the accusations, positing the claims as false, although dismissal wasn’t granted.
“The motion to dismiss raises two novel questions: Is bitcoin “money” for purposes of the District of Columbia’s MTA?” the document said. “Was Helix, which operated as a bitcoin tumbler, an ‘unlicensed money transmitting business,’” the document added.
The ruling appears in favor of Bitcoin classification as money, although, actually, this move simply lays out the necessity for almost all cryptocurrency exchanges to carry money transmitter licenses. Many jurisdictions across the United States already require such licensing.