Bitcoins are “money.”

In a September 18, 2014 order and decision in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Shaver et al., No. 4:13 CV 416 (E.D. Tx. 2014), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas held that bitcoin is “money” and that a scheme involving bitcoin investment can be considered to be an investment contract under the Securities Act of 1933 and therefore securities liability (and liability under Ponzi scheme prohibitions) can attach. In November 2014, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York opened new and expanded proceedings against the defendants in this case. The recognition of bitcoin as money and as currency may well have significant additional regulatory and operational consequences to entities that have considered themselves to be operating in an unregulated area.