Virtual Currency Under Federal Anti-Money Laundering Laws: FinCEN Provides Guidance


A lot of companies transact in credits that might be called “virtual currency.” Most of these companies probably do not consider themselves financial institutions. Many have never considered the possibility that they need to register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), an agency in the U.S. Treasury. And probably only a few have considered the possibility that they should be reporting suspicious virtual currency transactions to the authorities.

Some of these companies might need to rethink their assumptions in light of a guidance document recently issued by FinCEN, entitled Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies (the “Guidance”).

Virtual currency is an amorphous term, and FinCEN defines it broadly to potentially capture more than just Bitcoin-like systems.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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