Though the opinions expressed by a Supreme Court judge may not affect the validity of bitcoin, it certainly gives a glimmer of hope, given the stature of the institution
Bitcoin is in its nascent stage of development as a currency, and certainly far from being accepted by the governmental institutions as money. At that time, finding a mention in an opinion of a sitting Supreme Court judge may count something.
Rare as it is, bitcoin has found a mention in a US Supreme Court judgment. 79-year-old associated Justice Stephen Breyer in a dissenting opinion backed by three other judges said that it was possible that bitcoin could be used for dispensing salaries in future.
"Moreover, what we view as money has changed over time. Cowrie shells once were such a medium but no longer are ... our currency originally included gold coins and bullion, but, after 1934, gold could not be used as a medium of exchange... [P]erhaps one day employees will be paid in bitcoin or some other type of cryptocurrency," the judge said.
The opinion was expressed in a judgement on Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States. The case involves a dispute over whether worker stock options can be taxed as a kind of "compensation" in the same way that money is.
The majority judgement issued on Thursday declared that stocks do not count as "money remuneration". The court forwarded the case “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
The court reversed the judgment of lower courts which had deemed the stock options taxable under the US Tax Act.Though the opinions expressed by a Supreme Court judge may not affect the validity of bitcoin, it certainly gives a glimmer of hope, given the stature of the institution. Or perhaps, we are reading too much into it.