After sharing the verdict in their case with social media followers, Mark Alexander Hopkins, also known by the alias “Doctor Bitcoin” or their handle Rizzn, asserted that “transacting Bitcoin p2p is a federal criminal, as reported by Cointelegraph.
Hopkins stated on Twitter on Sunday that after entering a guilty plea for allegedly running an unlicensed cryptocurrency business, they might spend 6 to 15 months in a federal prison in Texas. According to Rizzn, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, accused them of operating an unlicensed “money transmission business” in violation of a 2019 interpretation of a 1992 law known as 18 U.S.C. 1960.
This means that, according to how the law is now being construed, “anyone with a cryptocurrency who trades p2p (i.e., not via an exchange) is legally responsible. In reality, this is a blanket law. They simply constructed a case that I had not registered with the federal government before selling my bitcoins after initially suspecting me of being the scam’s kingpin”, Cointelegraph noted.
The Bitcoiner, who claimed to have entered the market in 2011, asserted that they were “one of hundreds of thousands of OTC traders” in 2019 due to a negative actor using the trading group to launder money through purchases of Bitcoin (BTC). The Bitcoiner demanded regulatory clarification between the state and federal levels in the US before being sent to prison, ostensibly to protect other cryptocurrency users from the same enforcement action, as reported by Cointelegraph.
In April 2019, FinCEN filed similar accusations against a California citizen, charging they willfully disobeyed money transmission regulations while operating a P2P cryptocurrency and fiat exchange. The accused in that case, though, was only subject to a $35,000 fine and a ban on engaging in similar financial operations, not jail time.
(With insights from Cointelegraph)