Legal Scholars Declare Bitcoin Should Be Illegal

Blockchain, Crime, News, Regulation | November 21, 2017 By:

A respected legal podcast has claimed that promoting bitcoin may actually be a criminal act.

Oral Argument is a weekly-ish podcast hosted by law professors Christian Turner (University of Georgia) and Joe Miller (Lewis and Clark).

On November 12, their guest was Gregory Klass, an Agnes N. Williams research professor and professor of law at Georgetown, who focuses on contract law and legal theory. He has written about fraud liability between contracting parties, remedies for bad faith breach and other non-cooperative behavior, among other topics. In 2007, he was awarded the Scribes Book Award for his Insincere Promises: The Law of Misrepresented Intent, which he co-authored with Ian Ayres.

During the discussion with Klass, a professor of contract law at Georgetown University, one of the hosts said that bitcoin is illegal and those trafficking in it are committing a crime.

During the conversation, host Joe Miller noted that he found blockchain technology interesting, though he admitted, “If I hear another law student say the word blockchain, I am literally going to lose it.”

However, he noted, “If the logo for bitcoin isn’t the Gadsden flag, I don’t know why.” He was referring to a historical American flag with a yellow field that depicts a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and the words “Don’t Tread On Me,” a slogan used by pre-Revolutionary War settlers to show defiance to authority. It has since become associated with libertarian causes like the Tea Party.

Miller continued, “If they are setting up a competing currency, they ought to be locked up,” Klass said. “That’s a crime. Setting up a competing currency is against the law.”

The complete discussion can be listened to online here

(Note: Gregory Klass had remarks incorrectly attributed to him in a prior version of this story)