Regulation on Bitcoin Industry’s Banking Access Could Change

Chamber of Digital CommerceThe US Treasury Department has announced plans to reassess regulations on financial and banking access for Money Services Businesses (MSB) by inviting members of the MSB industry to bring up concerns to a roundtable discussion scheduled for next week.

In anticipation for the meeting, the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC), an advocacy organization on Capitol Hill for digital currencies, has established a Financial Access Task Force to prepare data on the Bitcoin industry’s access to banking and present it at the meeting. They are inviting all members of the cryptocurrency/digital asset industry to fill out their survey on financial banking access.

Why Is This Important?

In the wake of the Patriot Act in the early 2000s, the US financial industry has changed rapidly. Pressures on banks and other financial businesses have pushed them to crack down hard on money-related crime, regulation and scrutiny. Because of this, most cryptocurrency and digital asset companies are finding themselves in the midst of a legal and regulatory grey-area, causing banks to raise concern over whether or not to keep them as customers.

Because of this, many crypto-related companies have found themselves unbanked. Reasons can span from being labeled as a Money Services Business to not being in compliance with anti-money laundering laws, to simply being involved with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Similar actions have been taken around the world, especially in China. This only further keeps the industry from developing and maturing.

Where Are We Today?

The US, as a key member of global financial regulation, has been aiming to be proactive on money-related issues such as laundering and risk & compliance. With the torrent of regulations coming after the 2008 global financial meltdown, the US in particular has a very complex system of regulation. Today, most of the regulations are carried out by the large financial institutions themselves in tandem with Federal Reserve and other government agencies.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the US Treasury Department has released new format for sanctions as part of a global initiative with the United Nations. This may and will have serious implications for businesses dealing with decentralized digital assets.

It is clear that the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry is at a detriment, and it will take the political efforts of people like the Chamber of Digital Commerce to change that.

What Can Be Done About Regulation?

With the US Treasury Department scheduling the roundtable discussion next week, the Chamber of Digital Commerce has applied to be there to give a presentation on the state of the cryptocurrency industry. However, they need data, and they need data fast.

If you are a business dealing with cryptocurrencies or digital assets, please respond to the CDC’s survey here.

Images from the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): January 8, 2015 12:54 PM

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Calvin Tran

Calvin Tran is a filmmaker attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He is interested in economics as a way to see the world and inspires him to create media that illustrates the power of freedom and technology in improving all of our lives.