Posts Tagged ‘virtual currencies’

How Canada will regulate bitcoin

New federal regime for cryptocurrencies comes into further focus

by , Mar 29, 2014 | 2:00 pm

This past week, two sources of information became available indicating how the Canadian government will increase its regulation and oversight of virtual currencies, including bitcoin. Through a combination of legislative and regulatory changes, Parliament and the Financial Reports Analysis Centre of Canada—Canada’s financial intelligence unit—will wrap “dealers” in virtual currencies into the current money services business regime. Conceptually, this is somewhat similar to the approach taken to exchange functions by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the United States. The federal government has clarified things somewhat but, at the same time, left us with many unanswered questions. We will have to wait for further regulatory guidance to see how the whole regime in Canada plays out, but I think things are looking very positive for FIU regulation of cryptocurrencies in Canada.

The Current Structure & Canada’s Economic Action Plan

FinTRAC is an independent agency that acts as Canada’s FIU to enforce the Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations. It does this primarily through the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the PCMLTFA) and Regulations (the Regulations). I have previously written about FinTRAC, its FATF-mandated role, and the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. As explained in the earlier post, FinTRAC has thus far taken the view that bitcoins are not “funds” within the meaning of the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. That means that FinTRAC will not regulate many bitcoin exchange functions under the MSB rules in Canada.

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Bitcoin sails on

Charlie Shrem & Robert Faiella face federal charges; markets shrug it off

by , Jan 27, 2014 | 1:38 pm

Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced the unsealing of a federal criminal complaint against Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem. It’s alleged that Faiella ran an underground bitcoin exchange on Silk Road. Shrem is well-known in the bitcoin community as the CEO of BitInstant and the Vice Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation.

A copy of the criminal complaint against both men is here.

The complaint alleges that both Shrem and Faiella operated an unlicensed money transmitting and that Shrem specifically facilitated that business through BitInstant. Further to those allegations, Shrem is also charged with violations of the Bank Secrecy Act because of his purported wilfull failure to file reports with the Treasury Department. Finally, both men are charged with money laundering conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. 1956.

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Canada will tax your bitcoins

CRA issues first release on how it will approach virtual currency

by , Nov 7, 2013 | 9:59 am

The Canada Revenue Agency (the Canadian equivalent of the IRS) just issued its first release on how it will treat virtual currencies for taxation purposes. There is not much new here — the CRA sent an e-mail to the CBC back in April about bitcoin taxation — and the government leaves several questions unanswered. Still, it’s an actual release from the CRA and not just a communication to a news outlet, which is helpful to those advising taxpayers. And even though the interpretation bulletins and the release do not have force of law, this communication does at least put up some signposts about the CRA’s thinking about bitcoin.

The release — styled one of the CRA’s fact sheets on “digital currency” — is available here.

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Billing in bitcoins

by , Mar 28, 2013 | 7:28 pm

One of the many things I love about having a specialized, small law practice is my autonomy and flexibility. If I want to implement a business idea for Gaming Counsel, I can research it, think about it, and then do it. Provided that I comport with the law and the strictures of my regulators (e.g., the Law Society of Upper Canada & the State Bar of Nevada), I can go ahead and try new things. That’s a freedom I didn’t have as much of — not to say none of — at a big firm, and I don’t miss being more tied up.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to start accepting certain gaming business in bitcoins, which is intriguing for the firm. I don’t expect it will be a lot of business, but bitcoin is an engrossing concept and currency, and I’d like to at least try to keep up with its development and how my clients might like to do business.

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