The Bitcoin Foundation announced Thursday afternoon that they have filed an amicus brief with respect to a criminal case surrounding bitcoin transactions in the state of Florida.
Said case involves an individual who has been accused of being an unauthorized money transmitter, in addition to facing two counts of laundering money.
The case involves two men, Pascal Reid (29) and Michel Abner Espinoza (30), who were both sellers of bitcoin on LocalBitcoins.com.
Undercover officers each purchased $1,500 worth of bitcoin from the men, noting that they were going to use the digital currency to purchase stolen credit card numbers.
The Bitcoin Foundation’s amicus brief (opinion or testimony from someone outside of a case) is said to support one of the defendant’s (unnamed) motion to dismiss the charges of operating as an unregistered money transmitter.
The Foundation writes:
[blockquote style=”2″]The foundation’s position at its core is this: state prosecutors are improperly applying Florida statutes regulating “money service businesses” to individuals conducting peer-to-peer sales of bitcoins.[/blockquote]
In the spirit of transparency, the Foundation notes they were assisted on a pro bono basis for the brief filing by Brian Beiber of the GrayRobinson, P.A. law firm.
In the United States, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requires parties operating as financial institutions to register as such.
There’s been much debate in the cryptocurrency community as to what qualifies as a money services business, however.
The Bitcoin Foundation added it is “committed to representing the interests of the Bitcoin community everywhere in the world, including in court proceedings.”
Documents (click to view): Amicus Brief – 7-31-14 (00072892) / Motion For Leave To File Amicus Brief – 7-31-14 (00072891)