A rack of application-specific integrated circuits and block erupters used in Bitcoin miningReuters

The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a statement, saying bitcoin miners and investors will not come under the official definition of money transmitters, who are required to register with the agency.

FinCEN, which is the crimes enforcement division of the US Treasury, earlier published two administrative rulings, clarifying on whether a person's conduct related to convertible virtual currency brings them within the Bank Secrecy Act's (BSA) definition of a money transmitter.

"The first ruling states that, to the extent a user creates or "mines" a convertible virtual currency solely for a user's own purposes, the user is not a money transmitter under the BSA," the government agency said in a statement.

"The second states that a company purchasing and selling convertible virtual currency as an investment exclusively for the company's benefit is not a money transmitter."

More Clarity

The rulings further interpret FinCEN's guidance in March 2013 to address these business models, titled 'Application of FinCEN's Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies'.

The earlier guidance came in as response to questions raised by financial institutions, law enforcement, and regulators with regard to the regulatory treatment of people, who use, exchange, accept and transmit virtual currencies such as bitcoin.

Nevertheless, the guidance was interpreted as a "bad news" for the bitcoin community, as did not clarify the status of bitcoin miners and investors. If there are labelled as money transmitters, they would be required to register with FinCEN and comply with a range of anti-money laundering, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.

The first ruling clarifies that if a person is mining virtual currencies for own benefit, he or she is not a money transmitter. In addition, businesses that invest in bitcoin are not labelled as transmitters as long as the investment in virtual currencies is not their business.

FinCEN had earlier sent letters to a number of firms regarding potential anti-money laundering compliance obligations related to bitcoin businesses, according to a Reuters report. The letters were sent to those businesses that appeared to fall under FinCEN's definition of money transmitters, but had not registered with it as per the US rules.