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Bitcoin transactions are not protected


The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that transactions made with Bitcoin on exchanges are not protected by the fourth amendment to the constitution. This after they were the main evidence in a child pornography purchase case. Which would mean that the transactions made with Bitcoin in any cryptocurrency exchange do not have protection of the American constitution.

The court’s decision

The origin of this decision lies in the case against Richard Gratkowski. After an FBI search of his home found illegal material related to child pornography. This led to requests for Gratkowski’s transaction logs on Coinbase. On suspicion that the material would have been purchased using Bitcoin.

Gratkowski immediately protested against these actions. Arguing that their transactions within the exchange would be protected by the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution. Which guarantees the protection of citizens against judicial investigations without legal bases:

The right of the inhabitants that their persons, domiciles, papers and effects are safe from arbitrary investigations and apprehensions, will be inviolable, and orders that are not based on a plausible motive will not be issued, corroborated by oath or protest. and describe in particular the place to be searched and the people or things to be detained or seizeds ”.

However, the precedents of US justice would not be in favor of Gratkowski’s cause. Well, as indicated by Judge Catharine Haynes, it was established in a previous case that bank records are not protected by the fourth amendment. And since Coinbase is a financial institution, its records are also not protected by the constitution.

The consequences for Bitcoin transactions

At the end of the day, Judge Haynes’s arguments were supported by the other judges of the Fifth Circuit Court. Establishing, therefore, that operations carried out in cryptocurrency exchanges are not protected by the fourth amendment. What generates a series of consequences for the crypto world.

The good news is that, far from what is still argued in certain circles. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are helping to solve a pedophilia case. And therefore, it would be a tool for the American authorities to pursue criminals more easily.

And it is that, although at first it may be shocking the fact that the police forces can review transactions made on exchanges. The truth is that the decision of the American Court does not depart from the values ​​of Blockchain technology.

Bitcoin transactions made on exchanges do not have protection from the fourth amendment. Source:

Well, at the end of the day, the greatest quality of blockchains is their transparency. Thus, anyone at any time can verify the transactions made in the Bitcoin chain. Bringing to light the attempts to use the cryptocurrency for illegal purposes. Something impossible to do with fiat money.

Therefore, with this judicial decision, it would simply end with a source of anonymity for transactions with Bitcoin. The one that could have been used by criminals to hide illegal operations. And although it is possible to discuss the justice that only the police forces have access to this information. The ruling can be defended as an extension of Blockchain’s transparency to exchanges.

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