The state of Washington, in the United States, has declared that digital currencies are included in the definition of “money”, within the state’s Uniform Money Services Act (UMSA).
The new definition can be consulted at the Department of Financial Institutions’ (DFI) website, where the state’s authority provides information to money transmitters and currency exchangers.
The virtual page reads that “virtual currency, also known as digital currency or cryptocurrency, is a medium of exchange not authorized or adopted by a government. There are many different digital currencies being used over the internet, the most commonly known being Bitcoin. In Washington, digital currency is included in the definition of ‘money’ in the Uniform Money Services Act”.
According to the legislature of Washington state, “money means a medium of exchange that is authorized or adopted by the United States or a foreign government or other recognized medium of exchange. ‘Money’ includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more governments”. Nevertheless, the state considers that digital currencies can be part of this definition.
Washington’s recent alteration to the status of Bitcoin and other virtual coins was quite discreet, but a Redditor shared the information on the platform.
The department’s website also adds that “companies wishing to transmit money for Washington residents in a digital currency form can contact the DFI for a determination whether licensure under the UMSA is required. If it is, a license is required before the company can engage in the activity”.
The decision made by the Department of Financial Institutions opens a precedent that will surely affect how the financial authorities, courts and judges across the state (and maybe even out of it) look at cases that include Bitcoin or other digital currencies.