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FinCEN Conducting 'Examinations' of Digital Currency Businesses

(@mpmcsweeney) | Published on May 6, 2015 at 20:25 BST
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US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) director Jennifer Shasky Calvery said during a speech today that her agency is in the process of investigating businesses in the digital currency ecosystem.

Calvery gave the keynote address during the first day of the 2015 West Coast Anti-Money Laundering Forum in San Francisco. FinCEN later published the text of her speech, which acknowledged that “a series of supervisory examinations of businesses in the virtual currency industry” had begun.

The announcement comes a day after FinCEN, in conjunction with the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, announced that it had reached a settlement with Ripple Labs over violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. As part of the agreement, Ripple Labs and a subsidiary agreed to pay $700,000 and facilitate more stringent oversight of the Ripple network.

In her remarks, Calvery suggested that the process could result in future enforcement actions, noting:

"Working closely with our delegated BSA examiners at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), FinCEN recently launched a series of supervisory examinations of businesses in the virtual currency industry."

Calvery said this supervision will help FinCEN determine that "virtual currency exchangers" are meeting compliance obligations.

"Where we identify problems, we will use our supervisory and enforcement authorities to appropriately penalize non-compliance and drive compliance improvements," she continued.

The FinCEN director also touched on the settlement with Ripple, with some of the remarks echoing comment offered by the agency when it announced yesterday’s agreement.

At the time, she said that “innovation is laudable” but noted how digital currency businesses in the US must comply with federal statutes.

Surveillance image via Shutterstock

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