Bitcoin mining FinCEN regulation

FinCEN, The US Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, has issued a ruling that tries to clear up what could be a problem for Bitcoin mining. The problem is explained by whether someone who mines Bitcoins for themselves can trade the Bitcoins for fiat money at an exchange or spend them without being classified as a Money Service Business (which forces the miner to register with FinCEN).

Many Bitcoin miners have been concerned that tough regulation from FinCEN would mean that they would have to require an auditor staff, hence making it hard for individuals to mine Bitcoins and follow the regulation requirements. This would have made the Bitcoin mining community even more centralized than it is today.

Atlantic City Bitcoin have many ASIC miners at its facility in New Jersey and asked FinCEN to clarify their standing regarding Bitcoin mining. FinCEN replied with a statement saying that miners do not have to register with FinCEN as long as they mine for their own use.

FinCEN’s statement:

To the extent that a user mines Bitcoin and uses the Bitcoin solely for the user’s own purposes and not for the benefit of another, the user is not an MSB under FinCEN’s regulations, because these activities involve neither “acceptance” nor “transmission” of the convertible virtual currency and are not the transmission of funds within the meaning of the Rule. This is the case whether the user mining and using the Bitcoin is an individual or a corporation, and whether the user is purchasing goods or services for the user’s own use, paying debts previously incurred in the ordinary course of business, or (in the case of a corporate user) making distributions to shareholders. Activities that, in and of themselves, do not constitute accepting and transmitting currency, funds or the value of funds, are activities that do not fit within the definition of “money transmission services” and therefore are not subject to FinCEN’s registration, reporting, and recordkeeping regulations for MSBs…

FinCEN therefore concludes that, under the facts you have provided, Atlantic would be a user of Bitcoin, and not an MSB, to the extent that it uses Bitcoin it has mined: (a) to pay for the purchase of goods or services, pay debts it has previously incurred (including debts to its owner(s)), or make distributions to owners; or (b) to purchase real currency or another convertible virtual currency, so long as the real currency or other convertible virtual currency is used solely in order to make payments (as set forth above) or for Atlantic’s own investment purposes. Milly Bitcoin’s Mining Rig

Read the full statement here.