A defunct digital currency project that was a precursor to bitcoin has claimed the U.S. government suppressed crucial evidence in a 2008 landmark case that has since shaped the cryptocurrency industry.
- E-Gold’s former directors filed a petition Tuesday for a writ of coram nobis – in which the court changes the original judgment upon discovery of a fundamental error – at the District of Columbia court.
- Founded in 1996, E-Gold allowed users to trade digital units backed by precious metals – at its peak, the company held around $85 million in gold.
- The U.S. government charged E-Gold with being an unlicensed money transmitter in 2007; the project’s directors pleaded guilty in 2008.
- The ex-directors now claim in court that the federal government unlawfully concealed a 2006 review from Florida’s Office for Financial Regulation (OFR) so they “could make an example” out of E-Gold.
- Per the filing, the OFR review said E-Gold did not count as a money transmitter, as the gold-based asset was closer to a commodity than a fiat currency under state law.
- E-Gold’s former directors claim the court’s judgment would have been substantially different had they been allowed access to the OFR review
- The E-Gold case effectively extended the definition of “money transmitter” in the U.S. to include any system that stored and transferred value.
- Many crypto businesses subsequently have had to be regulated as money transmitters in individual states if they want to operate legally in the U.S.
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