The statement has been signed by Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman Heath Tarbert, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Director Kenneth Blanco and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton.
It is said to “reminds” companies in the crypto industry that they must comply with various banking and financial services laws in the U.S., regardless of what they call their cryptocurrencies or tokens. The document refers to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which outlines how different financial services businesses should register with regulators.
“As such, regardless of the label or terminology that market participants may use, or the level or type of technology employed, it is the facts and circumstances underlying an asset, activity or service, including its economic reality and use (whether intended or organically developed or repurposed), that determines the general categorization of an asset, the specific regulatory treatment of the activity involving the asset, and whether the persons involved are ‘financial institutions’ for purposes of the BSA.”
In his comments today, Blanco seemingly applied the BSA to virtual currency service providers, saying that his agency published interpretive guidance in May to address “money transmission denominated in value that substitutes for currency,” including cryptocurrencies.
Clayton commented saying his agency’s jobs is to protect investors, ensure fair markets and aid capital formation, which generally oversees the securities space, but added that the BSA does provide the SEC with some other requirements.
“Broker-dealers and mutual funds are required to implement reasonably-designed AML Programs and report suspicious activity. These rules are not limited in their application to activities involving digital assets that are ‘securities’ under the federal securities laws,” he said.
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