The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has sent out warning letters to bitcoin-related businesses notifying them that they must comply with federal money transmission laws, according to reports.
, a unit of the US Treasury Department, has sent out “industry outreach” letters regarding anti-money laundering practices. Around a dozen letters have been delivered to bitcoin businesses so far.
Back in November, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the head of FinCEN, suggested at a Senate hearing that virtual currency exchanges and administrators should do three things: register with FinCEN, put in place anti-money laundering procedures and maintain their records.
The letter Caldwell received indicated that his enterprise was considered a money transmitter business.
The Verge reported that only 35 bitcoin-related companies have registered with FinCEN as money transmitter businesses. It’s clear from these letters that FinCEN believes more companies need to file paperwork in order to be compliant.
Government regulators have been interested in learning more about virtual currencies. With the exception of Mt. Gox and money laundering enterprise Liberty Reserve, regulators have simply been on a mission to gather information.
In August, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued 22 subpoenas to bitcoin companies as it tried to understand what type of policy to enact in the state where US financial activities are headquartered.
The DFS has also considered issuing so-called “BitLicenses” to virtual currency businesses.
currently require money transmission businesses to register with a local regulatory commission, South Carolina and New Mexico are the only two exceptions.
A number of countries have made statements regarding bitcoin policy within their jurisdiction recently.
In contrast, Denmark's financial authority has stated that cryptocurrencies are not subject to financial regulation there. Additionally, Norway’s director general of taxation has said that bitcoins “don’t fall under the usual definition of money or currency,” which makes for an interesting tax situation within the scandinavian country.
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