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Is Bitcoin illegal or legal in the United States?

Bitcoin is legal in the U.S. But it is not “legal tender.” This means that unlike the U.S. Dollar, which must be accepted for “All Debts Public and Private,” nobody is required to accept Bitcoin as payment. However, there are a growing number of innovative online stores that do choose to offer their customers the option to pay with Bitcoins. Like the U.S. Dollar, there are laws that define how Bitcoin is used legitimately.

In 2013, FinCEN (a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury) issued guidance for cryptocurrency companies regarding how they comply with existing federal laws relating to banking and financial services. This action effectively legitimized use cases for virtual currencies such as Bitcoin at the federal level. In 2014, the IRS issued statements regarding how Bitcoin and other digital assets should be treated for tax purposes. Also, many states have since issued their own guidance or passed laws regarding Bitcoins and virtual currencies.

The examples above are not legal advice. You should consult a qualified attorney if you have legal questions about Bitcoin or virtual currencies.

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