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FinCen’s director says Bitcoin and exchanges “have nothing to fear”

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It’s not easy for Bitcoin in a world where everybody wants a piece of it. Especially when the authorities seem to be hunting  cryptocurrency down without letting it breath. Well, this can be a concern of the past, since the director of FinCen publicly guaranteed that Bitcoin and its users don’t “have nothing to fear from Treasury”, as long as they comply with the rules.

There was a moment there when we almost believed that USA authorities in the field of financial crimes, mainly FinCen, were really after Bitcoin. The cases against Mt. Gox or Liberty Reserve, among so many others, happened so close that it was difficult not to distrust. However, they denied it and now everything seems to be running smoothly, especially because Bitcoin’s value keeps stabilizing.

In a recent conference about cryptocurrency, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCen, says her agency isn’t working against Bitcoin or other virtual currencies, as long as the exchanges and administrators keep following the same rules that other financial institutions also have to follow.

“Administrators or exchanges of virtual currencies have registration requirements and a broad range of [anti-money-laundering] program, recordkeeping, and reporting responsibilities. Those offering virtual currencies must comply with these regulatory requirements, and if they do so, they have nothing to fear from Treasury”, said the director.

FinCen announced, back in March, that it would apply money-laundering rules to virtual currencies as well: this means registration with the government and bookkeeping requirements, among so many other rules.

According to FinCen’s responsible, “any financial institution and any financial service could be exploited for money-laundering purposes. What is important is for institutions to put controls in place to deal with those money laundering threats, and to meet their reporting obligations”.

The day after the Liberty Reserve arrest, the Treasury used, for the first time, the 2001 Patriot Act against a virtual currency. “With this action, we were not painting with a broad brush against an entire industry. I do not think that is fair to any industry in any situation, let alone this one”, Jennifer Shasky Calvery added.


Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

View all Posts by Maria Santos

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