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This interpretive guidance seeks to clarify the applicability of the regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 ("BSA") to persons creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies.
The guidance was in response to questions raised by financial institutions, law enforcement, and regulators concerning the regulatory treatment of persons who use convertible virtual currencies or make a business of exchanging, accepting, and transmitting them.
FinCEN's rules define certain businesses or individuals as money services businesses (MSBs) depending on the nature of their financial activities. MSBs have registration requirements and a range of anti-money laundering, recordkeeping, and reporting responsibilities under FinCEN's regulations. The guidance considers the use of virtual currencies from the perspective of several categories within FinCEN's definition of MSBs.