The first attempt at state regulation of Bitcoin

    On Sunday, March 18th, the FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), a division of the US Treasury that deals with money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes, published a directive on the application of FinCEN rules to those administering, exchanging, or otherwise using virtual currencies. This document refers to decentralized virtual currencies, that is, in fact, it is primarily about Bitcoin.

    Under US law, financial institutions must collect information about suspicious transactions and provide it to the federal government. In the case of a decentralized currency, it is very difficult to distinguish between an ordinary user and a financial institution. Each member of the network involved in mining is a currency issuer, in addition, he helps to carry out transfers within the network. FinCEN recommends that all participants in the Bitcoin network who do not exchange virtual currency for other currency units or goods be ordinary users who are not subject to financial monitoring rules, but exchangers and, probably, shops and sites that accept Bitcoin should be considered financial institutions .

    Only two paragraphs are devoted to decentralized currencies, and many definitions are not yet clear. Considering the distributed nature of Bitcoin, almost every participant from time to time can make an exchange or sell something for bitcoins. Where is the border, and what kind of information should the exchangers provide, is not clear. Especially when you consider that information about all transactions without exception on the network is in the public domain. Perhaps, exchangers will soon force to collect personal data about all customers without fail.

    Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin has broken the psychological barrier of $ 50 and continues to skyrocket.

    UPD: Bitcoin Foundation lawyer Patrick Murk has just commented on the FinCEN initiative . Here is a translation of the summary of his article:

    “FinCEN's position regarding Bitcoin looks like this:

    1. Anyone can buy or mine bitcoins and exchange their goods or services without having to register with FinCEN as a financial institution.
    2. If he himself receives money from someone in exchange for bitcoins, then he may be required to register with FinCEN.
    3. If a miner exchanges the bitcoins he has obtained for money, then he is obliged to register with FinCEN.
    4. Anyone who engages in Bitcoin transfers on behalf of and on behalf of third parties is required to register with FinCEN.

    This scheme greatly extends the effect of the Banking Secrecy Act ( BSA ) and the powers of FinCEN, and will be unacceptable to many, if not most members of the Bitcoin community. ”

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