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Bitcoin Gets Its First Reference By US Supreme Court


Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, just got its first mention in a US Supreme Court opinion as a new type of medium of exchange or money.

The reference came from the notably conservative source appeared in J. Breyer's dissent in Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States case, which is dealing with whether employee stock options count as any form of money remuneration and taxable.

The dissenting opinion, drafted by Justice Stephen Breyer and backed by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan, argued that the nature of what constitutes money is less rigid than interpreted by the majority.

"Moreover, what we view as money has changed over time. Cowrie shells once were such a medium but no longer are …. our currency originally included gold coins and bullion, but, after 1934, gold could not be used as a medium of exchange...perhaps one day employees will be paid in Bitcoin or some other type of cryptocurrency..," he stated.

Breyer said a broader understanding of money is perfectly intuitive, particularly in the context of compensation.

Even though the case is not directly linked to cryptocurrencies, such a reference is considered to have much importance to the digital currency market, indicating its acceptance as a form of money.

The opinion is in contrary to Internal Revenue Service's recent ruling of cryptocurrencies as a form of property, or Commodity Futures Trading Commission's opinion that its a commodity. A U.S. district court judge also reportedly called it a commodity.

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