Why Does San Francisco Judge Order Bitcoin As Bail Payment?

Normally, when people find themselves in a sticky situation such as being sued for hacking a video game company, the bail would be paid in dollars or even with property bonds. But it looks like it’s now possible to bail yourself or your friend out of jail with Bitcoin!


San Francisco federal judge demands a cyber-criminal to pay his bill charges in Bitcoin in his first appearance in court on Thursday, August 16.

Big-time Video Game Hacker

EATwenty-five year old Serbian and Italian national Martin Marisch, was arrested at the San Francisco International Airport on August 8. Marish has reportedly hacked the world-renowned video games company Electronic Arts Inc.

According to the Daily Post, a local Palo Alto newspaper, he is accused of accessing EA’s internal computer network, obtaining access to 25,000 accounts. The customer records contains data that allows customers to buy items for use in video games and Marish could’ve used the information for financial gain.

Bitcoin Bail

For some, it may come as a question why Federal Judge Jacqueline Corley ordered the defendant to pay $750,000 in Bitcoin or other kinds of cryptocurrencies rather than greenbacks.

US assistant district attorney, Abraham Simmons, provided a more rational legal explanation:

“It really is quite broad. The judge could order just about anything. What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.”

Judges can order many kinds of bail that the defendant has access to, including real estate or other assets owned by another person.

The district attorney said he doesn’t think it was the first time cryptocurrency had been allowed for bail.

“The idea is to get him to court, not necessarily to maintain the value of any particular asset. I would imagine that either side would alert the court of an extreme change in the value of the asset, but it doesn’t mean that the court would care one way or the other,” he added.

Simply put, if the value of Bitcoin were to fluctuate significantly, Simmons claimed that either party could file a motion to change the bail amount.

The posting of the cryptocurrency is to be confirmed on Monday and is scheduled to appear in court again to set further dates in the case.

If convicted, Marish a maximum if five years in jail time and a fine of $250,000 with restitution for each violation, if applicable.

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