The I.R.S.'s decision would treat Bitcoin as property subject to capital gains taxes. Long-term capital gains taxes are capped at 20 percent, a more favorable rate than the top rate of 39.6 percent on federal income taxes. Individual traders in the currency markets -- the British pound, for example -- are expected to treat gains or losses as regular income for tax purposes.

"From a tax perspective, this is really the best possible outcome," said Barry Silbert, the chief executive of SecondMarket, which is planning to introduce a new Bitcoin exchange.''

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