If you look on eBay there are no Bitcoins for sale inside the USA. And according to Wikipedia:
In the US, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) established regulatory guidelines for “decentralized virtual currencies” such as Bitcoin, classifying American “Bitcoin miners” who sell their generated bitcoins as Money Service Businesses (or MSBs), that may be subject to registration and other legal obligations.
So how is it that anyone can sign up for a Coinbase account and then they have the option: to link a bank account i.e. “Bank Accounts – used to buy and sell bitcoins, U.S. only right now” and purchase the bitcoin currency?
Well, I posted a question in the help section of Coinbase asking:
Is Coinbase legal? I read on Wikipedia that it is illegal to buy and sell bitcoins in the USA. Is that true?
Then I get a response via e-mail:
A public question has been updated: Link to Question
The only problem is that when I click on the link it goes to the general help section – i.e. the question has been deleted.
So I suppose the question of whether or not Bitcoin sales in the USA is still a grey area, and it seems Coinbase has responded by ignoring the question and/or trying to make it go away. Very odd. I checked the rest of their FAQ section and also their legal pages without seeing any comment on this.