Bitcoin is one of more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies, which a University of Michigan assistant professor said are easy to launch and all operate in a similar way. A man uses a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong.

When officers seized $4.7 million from a Toledo man accused of running an ambitious fake-identification ring, the currency didn’t come in the form of legal U.S. tender. Court records state the money taken from Mark Alex Simon, 34, existed as Bitcoin — a virtual currency not tied to any standard and difficult, but not impossible, for law enforcement to track.

“It’s not particularly common, but there are people who do it,” Cara Bloom wrote in a 2013 paper while a staff cyber researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Enlarge Now, Mr. Simon is under arrest, with prosecutors alleging he used the online username “TedDanzigSR” to sell fake IDs over the popular website Reddit.com.

Bitcoin is one of more than 1,500 cryptocurrencies, which Andrew Wu, University of Michigan assistant professor of technology and operations and finance, said are easy to launch and all operate in a similar way. “Its intrinsic value is basically zero,” Mr. Wu said.

“I could launch one in 20 minutes.” For that reason, he hesitated to call it a currency. He compared it to gold, something that sells for much more than its intrinsic worth. Read more from toledoblade.com…

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