This Thursday became an extremely significant date in the history of bitcoin. The flagship cryptocurrency made its first appearance in an opinion published by the US Supreme Court. This case didn’t involve regulatory or legal status. Rather, it discovered whether employee stock options represent taxable compensation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act of 1937.
At the Supreme court during the case justices had to consider a fundamental question. Can we actually name ”bitcoin” money and if so what is money? Since the bitcoin has been publicated, this question has taken a new turn in the global community. Did you ask yourself this question? Throughout many centuries new discoveries were revealed and also the answers to such fundamental questions were modified. Money, in some form, has been part of human history for at least the last 3,000 years. Money is nothing. It can be a shell, a pearl, a metal coin, or a piece of paper with a historic image on it. The most important thing about money is its value that people mean when they use it. In 600 B.C., Lydia’s King Alyattes minted the first official currency. So we got a coin. Then the Chinese moved from coins to paper money. So we got ”banknote”. In 2009 there was invented bitcoin. Maybe it’s time for this currency to take its place in economics?
Anyway, let’s return to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, the 5-4 majority ruled that employees should not be taxed for exercising stock options since the action does not constitute “money remuneration.” Such currency as bitcoin has been mentioned in the U.S. Supreme Court and it’s not its last appearance. Perhaps in the future employes will be paid only bitcoins. Maybe someday all of us will use only bitcoin or other cryptocurrency and use of other currencies will seem for us a little strange, who knows?