On October 27, 2014, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released new guidance for custodial bitcoin exchanges and payment processors, ruling that such companies may be considered money services businesses under US law. As money service businesses (MSBs), exchangers and payment processors are subject to the full weight of US Anti-Money Laundering Laws and Regulations. The purpose of these AML rules is to help detect and report suspicious activity that is indicative of money laundering and terrorist financing.
A key aspect of complying with these rules is establishing a written AML compliance program. The basic tenets of an AML compliance program under FINRA 3310 include the following.
- The program has to be approved in writing by a senior manager.
- It must be reasonably designed to ensure the firm detects and reports suspicious activity.
- It must be reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the AML Rules, including, among others, having a risk-based customer identification program (CIP) that enables the firm to form a reasonable belief that it knows the true identify of its customers.
- It must be independently tested to ensure proper implementation of the program.
- Each FINRA member firm must submit contact information for its AML Compliance Officer through the FINRA Contact System (FCS).
- Ongoing training must be provided to appropriate personnel.
Cross Law has experience helping clients design and implement bitcoin AML policies that meet the above referenced criteria. For a no-obligation price quote, please contact us.
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If you operate a bitcoin exchange service or payment processor and need to impliment a bitcoin AML policy, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. We can provide you with a no-obligation price quote to help get you started on the path to being AML compliant.