A recently-issued ruling by a South Florida judge that Bitcoin is not money, but equates more to property, is causing some consternation in the investigative community, fearing the legal edict could make it more difficult to bring state money laundering and other charges when criminal money trails snake into the virtual world.

The July 22 ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Teresa Mary Pooler resulted in charges being dismissed against a Miami Beach man, Michell Espinoza, accused of money laundering and acting as an unlicensed money transmitter or payment instrument seller.

The widely-watched case – which could potentially nullify an investigation started in December 2013 – is reportedly one of the few in the nation where a judge has given a definitive state stance on what the volatile, nationless and decentralized Bitcoin should be considered in the broad spectrum of value: currency, property, monetary instrument or Monopoly money.