Request for Administrative Ruling on the Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to a Virtual Currency Payment System Summary

Updated 12/27/2021

This tool summarizes FinCEN’s ruling regarding a company that plans to set up a virtual currency payment system for merchants who wish to receive customer payments in virtual currency. The following are the key takeaways of the ruling:

1. As part of the analysis of whether a person is a money services business (MSB), you must identify the role the person is playing: (1) exchanger, (2) administrator; or (3) user.

2. The fact that the company will use its own cache of virtual currency is immaterial to whether it meets the definition of “money transmitter.”

3. An exchanger is subject to FinCEN regulations regardless of whether the exchanger is acting as a broker (matching buyers and sellers) or as a dealer (transacting from its own reserve in either convertible virtual currency or real currency).

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