Crypto Lawyer Miami Florida USA
We are dedicated to serving investors, entrepreneurs and institutions engaged in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Our best crypto lawyers are based in Miami, Florida, the US capital of blockchain. Our services include:
- Money Services Business (MSB) registration with FinCEN
- State Money Transmitter Licenses (MTLs)
- Preparation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) Compliance Programs
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Screening and Reporting
- General Counsel and Legal Advisory Services
The most popular crypto currencies, Bitcoin and Ether, fall under the jurisdiction of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). FinCEN considers Bitcoin ATMs, OTC (over-the-counter) brokers, and Bitcoin crypto exchanges to be a type of a money services business (MSB) requiring licensing. Even peer-to-peer (P2P) crypto exchanging individuals, trading digital currencies on platforms such as Binance and Coinbase, are considered MSBs and as result require registration. Other MSBs regulated by FinCEN are currency dealers and exchanges, check cashers, issuers of traveler checks and money orders, seller or redeemer of travelers’ checks, money orders or stored value and the U.S. Postal Service. According to FinCEN, a money services business (MSB) includes any person doing business in one of the capacities above (money transmitter, currency dealer and exchanger, check casher, issuer of traveler’s checks, money orders or stored value, seller or redeemer of traveler’s checks, money orders or stored value, U.S. Postal Service), regardless of whether they are organized as a business or not, or are conducting business on a regular basis or only from time to time. In the case of Bitcoin ATMs, OTC (over-the-counter) brokers, and Bitcoin crypto exchanges, any person who engages as a business in the transfer of funds is an MSB regardless of the daily amount of money transmission and must register with FinCEN.
Furthermore, businesses and individuals that are involved in the purchase or sale of crypto currencies in exchange for fiat currency or other cryptocurrencies are considered money transmitters and as such are also required to obtain a money transmitter license (MTL) in every state in which they intend to do business in. The MTL license typically authorizes the holder to transmit currency, monetary value, or payment instruments, either by wire, facsimile, electronic transfer, courier, the Internet, or through bill payment services or other businesses that facilitate such transfer, within this country or to or from locations outside this country. Businesses and individuals who accept crypto as form of payment in exchange for products or services are not considered a money transmitter and are not required to be licensed.
FinCEN registration as a Money Service Business
All MSBs are required to register with FinCEN regardless of if they are a money transmitter or another type of MSB. The only exception is if a person or a business is an MSB solely because that person serves as an agent of another MSB. Registration of an MSB is the responsibility of the owner or controlling person of the MSB and must be filed by the registration deadline which is within 180 days after establishing the MSB. Registration with FinCEN must be renewed every 2 years.
Anti-money laundering (AML) program
Further, our best crypto lawyers in Miami, Florida USA explain that FinCEN requires the MSBs to establish an anti-money laundering (AML) program. In order to meet FinCEN standards, the program shall consist of the following:
- Policies, procedures, and internal controls in regard to:
- Know you customer (KYC) policies
- Filing reports for suspicious activity
- Record retention
- Designating a chief compliance officer
- Training and education procedures for staff to execute the AML program
- Procedures for independent review and monitoring of the AML program.
State Money Transmitter License
After registering with FinCEN and establishing an AML compliance program, a business and/or individual who is engaged in the purchase or sale of Bitcoin, must obtain a money transmitter license (or equivalent) from every state in which it intends to do business in. The money transmitter licensing requirements are subject to the laws of the individual states. The only exception is the state of Montana which does not have money transmitter laws. Regulation of money transmitters varies widely from one state to another and is subject to frequent change.
Our crypto lawyers in Miami, Florida USA, explain that to apply for a money transmitter license in the state of Florida, a business is subject to minimum net worth and surety bond requirements. The applicant must also submit a description of the organizational structure, all personal information, including fingerprints from an authorized vendor, for all officers, directors, responsible persons, the compliance officer and for each controlling shareholder. That is in addition to financial statements, a description of the organizational structure of the business, history of operations in other states and a copy of the AML program.
According to FinCEN, ignorance of the law or negligence in complying is simply no excuse and failure to register as an MSB can result in a civil penalty of $5,000 per offence, or a maximum of 5 years in prison.
How can Malescu Law assist?
Our best crypto lawyers in Miami, Florida USA assist entrepreneurs and companies engaged in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to receive Money Services Business registration, apply for Money Transmitter License and develop procedures for an anti-money laundering (AML) program that is right for you. Contact us now or schedule a consultation.