Bitcoin miners and investors will not be regulated by the US Treasury. The clarification came in a pair of rulings yesterday from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the US Treasury Department, which said that people who mine virtual currencies for personal use and businesses that buy and sell virtual currencies purely as an investment will not be considered money transmitters, exempting them from requirements to register with the government and comply with certain money-laundering regulations that it appeared may have applied to them.
Exchanges still face money-laundering regulations
FinCEN's ruling was initially published late last month by Atlantic City Bitcoin, the company that the ruling was originally handed to. However, FinCEN rulings that have not been officially published by the bureau cannot always be used as precedent. With FinCEN's publication of the ruling today, it makes the decision widely applicable.
Though the ruling does not let all Bitcoin and virtual currency businesses off the hook from regulation, it's good news for the bulk of users who are interested solely in acquiring and trading a currency. Many have been concerned that Bitcoin's increased popularity would lead to regulation and hamper the ability to use it anonymously — a sizable part of what makes it so appealing. Virtual currency exchanges will still be required to register with FinCEN and comply with money-laundering regulations though, whether they exchange with legal tender or just another virtual currency.