One of the trickiest things to deal with is who is truly in control when it comes to cryptocurrency in America. At the moment this is one of the biggest battles taking place that few people are talking about.
On the local levels some states are trying to make it perfectly legal while others are arresting over it. On the federal level the IRS taxes it, the federal government seems to want to pass laws governing it, while the international legal authorities like the department of homeland security just see it as a means of money laundering.
Public resources are being used to setup complete sting operations only to find judges are not always siding with them after months of efforts and funding have been utilized.
Time magazine recently wrote a piece on The sting Operation of Jason Klein. Months were spend by authorities meeting with and gathering evidence against Jason Klien of Nixa, MO. The intent was to all but entrap him for laundering drug money.
Authorities hooked him in through the website localbitcoins where they began buying bitcoin from him, coaxing him into selling larger and more substantial amounts as the price of bitcoin rose. They made very subtle hints that they would use the money to buy drugs.
However after all this evidence gathering and raiding his home, come the day in court a plea deal was made with the U.S. Attorney’s office where he would plead guilty to violating money transmitting laws. That means he had to plead guilty to operating a business similar to western union without being registered to do so.
Prosecutors hoped he would see a sentance of over a year in jail, and make an example case out of him.
The federal district judge however, saw things a bit differently. He sentenced Klein to 120 hours of community service and $100,000 USD worth of fines.
Keep in mind, Klein actually paid his taxes on his cryptocurrency, and broke no federal laws per say. His only crime was selling bitcoin.
At the same time, Missouri State Representative Nicholas Schroer has filed a bill aimed at declaring the use of a Blockchain and distributed ledger technology and all other types of decentralized databases to store firearm owner data in the state, as illegal as others within the state have been interested in exactly the opposite.
The bill also proposes that anyone violating the law, would be found guilty of a class E felony. The bill does however allow for the non-distributed tracking system of the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) database.
While Missouri is attempting to investigate people for selling bitcoins and pass laws limiting distributed technology usage, Arizona on the opposite end of the country is taking exactly the opposite approach.
On February 8th, they passed through senate a law that will allow bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be used to pay taxes by the year 2020. There requirement is that the state sell any cryptocurrency within 24 hours of a citizens taxes being paid with the currency
This move by the state could be the first legal move in recognizing cryptocurrency as a legal tender, and further pollute who can and cannot sell cryptocurrencies.
Still yet, the IRS of the US federal government has deemed that cryptocurrency is in fact an asset class not a legal currency and earnings and losses at the time a sale takes place must be reported and taxed as such.
So this is the problem for people in the USA – will paying ones taxes and reporting on cryptocurrency sales, although required by the federal IRS, get them arrested with their local officials? Will it be deemed as money laundering or will it be seen as running some sort of violating of state money transmitting laws? Does every single person in America need to be licensed to transmit money just to use virtual currencies?
It is a mixed up world for people involved with cryptocurrency in the USA and so far, no one wants to give any clear answers to these and many other issues citizens face.