A federal judge ruled that bitcoins are a currency or form of money and therefore subject to relevant U.S. laws in a case against a Texas man accused of creating a fraudulent Bitcoin hedge fund, according to a report from Ars Technica.
Fincen issued guidance on virtual currency in March, categorizing Bitcoin exchangers and administrators as money services businesses and therefore liable to register as such. Federal Judge Amos Mazzant's ruling further solidifies Bitcoin's status as a regulated currency.
The case stems from an accusation by the Securities and Exchange Commission that Bitcoin Savings and Trust, founded by Trendon Shavers, was a Ponzi scheme, the article says. The company shut down in August 2012 and Shavers faced formal charges last month.
Shavers argued that the SEC holds no jurisdiction over his case, since he considered bitcoin to be unregulated. Shavers, Ars Technica reported in July, raised about 700,000 bitcoins, which based on the exchange rate at that time the investments were offered and sold, amounted to more than $4.5 million.