US bank and merchant service provider Wells Fargo assembled a group consisting of digital currency specialists, financial industry experts, and US government representatives to discuss “Bitcoin Engagement.”
After congressional hearings and a report released last month, Wells Fargo has decided to hold a summit to discuss the regulatory status and “rules of engagement” in dealing with Bitcoin. The summit was organized by Wells Fargo Head of AML Jim Richards.
After US congress hearings and the report released last month, there is still no firm regulation on the matter of Bitcoin. The hearing resulted in positive conclusions, with Senator Tom Carpe referring to Bitcoin as a “legitimate financial service.” Bank of America also released a positive statement on the subject of Bitcoin, calling it a “major means of payment for Ecommerce.” These statements however still do not present any official regulation on digital currencies, something Wells Fargo is trying to clarify before delving into idea of Bitcoin.
“We are working to make sure that we are meeting our due diligence requirements. That if we are providing services to those companies, that we look at federal registration, state licensing, business background, AML procedures, all of that due diligence,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson stated on the summit.
The lack of federal regulations has led tense banking relationships with companies who deal in Bitcoin and US based banks. There have also been multiple stories of bank accounts being closed due to Bitcoin related transfers. Current banking regulations not yet altered for digital currencies are directing federal regulated banks, like Wells Fargo, to conjure their own policies on Bitcoin.
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“It’s a rapidly evolving area, and there has been some guidance shared. But what we have seen says in part that administrator exchanging it for federal currency is a money transmitter under federal regulations,” stated the Wells Fargo spokesperson on the difficulty of creating policies.
There is no report yet on the results of the meeting. However the fact such a meeting is taking place shows Bitcoin is being considered and treated as an applicatory aspect of the US economic structure.