Slideshow 7 Businesses FinCEN's New Virtual Money Rules May Affect

  • March 24 2013, 3:03pm EDT
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(Image: ThinkStock)

Money Exchanges

Exchange houses such as Bitfloor and Mt. Gox, which trade bitcoins for other currencies, fall under this category. These entities are asked to register as money-services businesses and collect information to combat money laundering. (Image: ThinkStock)

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Digital Wallets

Businesses that run wallets for consumers to store their bitcoins will also be classified as exchanges, since bitcoins are sent and received through these electronic pocketbooks. Instawallet and Coinbase are popular Bitcoin wallets, helping consumers get and use the complicated bitcoin economy. (Image: ShutterStock)

Service Businesses

Many bitcoin services businesses are already registered with FinCEN. Coinlab Inc., which recently partnered with Mt. Gox to facilitate U.S. and Canadian transactions, works with Silicon Valley Bank, so it follows all Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering rules. BitInstant and BitPay are also registered with FinCEN. (Image: ShutterStock)


The individuals who "mine" new bitcoins may find their pastime has made them a regulated business. “A person that creates units of convertible virtual currency and sells those units to another person for real currency or its equivalent is engages in transmission to another location and is a money transmitter," FinCEN says. (Image: ThinkStock)

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Despite the attention to Bitcoin, FinCEN's guidance never names any particular e-currency. Even limited-use currencies such as Facebook Credits and Amazon Coins could meet its definition. Pictured: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Image: Bloomberg News)

Second Life, World of Warcraft

Second Life's Linden Dollars and World of Warcraft's gold were never meant to displace the dollar, but their fans traded them for money years before Bitcoin emerged. Though game publishers have generally discouraged the exchange of digital money for real funds, many third parties facilitate such transactions. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Future Currencies

Chris Larsen, known for disruptive financial services businesses like E-Loan and Prosper, is working on a virtual currency project called OpenCoin. This company and other unlaunched startups will have to take FinCEN's new rules into account. (Image: ShutterStock)