E-Gold Claims US Officials Buried Key Report in 2008 Landmark Crypto Ruling

A court filing alleges federal government suppression of an OFR review led to crypto businesses being defined as money transmitters.

Jul 3, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:59 a.m. UTC

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 and the project's directors pleaded guilty in 2008.
  • The ex-directors now claim in court the federal government unlawfully concealed a 2006 review from Florida's Office for Financial Regulation (OFR) so it "could make an example" of E-Gold.
  • Per the filing, the OFR review said E-Gold did not count as a money transmitter because 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.

See the full filing below:


The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.