The law enforcement agencies in Florida have been working overtime, trying to net people attempting to buy or sell bitcoin in their individual capacity. However, they were left disappointed at least in one case after the presiding Judge decided to drop charges on the account of lack of clear classification of the digital currency.
But things might soon change as the lawmakers in the state have made up their mind to curb the practice of buying and selling Bitcoin without the involvement of registered exchange platforms.
The proposed law will see Bitcoin and other virtual currencies included into the state’s existing money laundering laws, further sharpening the teeth of law enforcement agencies to crackdown on Bitcoin users. The new draft law will be considered during the ongoing annual legislative session.
One of the publications reporting on the draft law has quoted Miami-Dada State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle saying,
“The high-tech criminals of the 21st Century use virtual currencies like bitcoin to accumulate and hide the profits of their illegal activities. This legislation makes sure that traffickers and fraudsters can no longer try to use internet-based currencies to hide and move their ill-gotten gains.’’
The narrative accompanying the new law sounds good, but the impact of such a law will be felt by not just the criminals who have been taking advantage of the cryptocurrency, but also legitimate Bitcoin users. It could also hamper the use of peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange services like LocalBitcoins among the residents of Florida.
While the law enforcement officials are excited about the new draft law, the same can’t be said about the cryptocurrency community members. Some believe that the new law will slow down innovation in the financial sector, isolating it from rest of the world as it progresses.
Bitcoin is seen as a precursor to the next generation of financial innovation. Its potential has been recognized by many countries, who have taken a wait-and-watch approach, instead of making haste with strict regulations. Few countries have already taken steps to legalize the digital currency as well.
The consequences of the new draft law, if implemented will become obvious in the coming months.
Ref: Miami Herald | Image: NewsBTC