WASHINGTON (4/10/14)--Money-laundering and know-your-customer controls will need to be applied to virtual currency transactions such as those made through bitcoin, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary members this week.
These controls would help fight illegal activity on these marketplaces, Holder said (Finextra.com April 9). The Department of Justice is working with financial regulators to assess the issue, Holder said, noting that the popularity of alternative currencies
among criminals has created a new issue for law enforcement and regulators alike.
The new government attention has made some fear that tightening regulations could tighten the online currency business, Finextra.com wrote.
The question is not if the government will regulate online currencies, but when and which agency will oversee the transactions, MarketWatch.com reported (April 9).
There must be regulation, Boston University professor Mark Williams told participants at a recent MarketWatch panel discussion held in New York. Consumer protection must be a focus, he added.
Bitcoin Investment Trust creator Barry Silbert argued that bitcoin is regulated, noting that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has released guidance on virtual currencies. Silbert said the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are not likely to regulate the nascent currency.
State regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may be the bodies in charge of rulemaking for bitcoin, he said. The CFTC may develop regulations if bitcoin derivatives are created, he added.