Law Blog Categories


Legal Overview Crypto Regulations in US

Published on : 24 Mar 2024

Crypto Regulations in US

In recent years, the landscape of cryptocurrency regulations in the United States has been a complex terrain to navigate for businesses operating in the digital asset space. With multiple federal regulators overseeing various aspects of crypto activities and each state having the authority to implement its own set of regulations, understanding and staying compliant with the evolving regulatory framework is crucial for companies in this industry. Let's delve into the key aspects of US crypto regulations and how businesses can ensure compliance.

Regulatory Authorities

Several federal institutions play a role in regulating digital assets in the US:

  1. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN): Regulates digital assets for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT) purposes.
  2. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): Oversees digital assets considered securities, governing their issuance and resale.
  3. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): Regulates digital assets qualifying as commodities or used as derivatives.

Determining which regulator governs a particular crypto asset depends on its classification as a money transmitter, security, or commodity/derivative, often leading to overlapping jurisdictions for businesses.

Affected Entities

US regulations vary significantly from those in other countries due to the diverse nature of digital assets. Entities falling under the Bank Secrecy Act's definition of "financial institutions" are subject to AML/CFT obligations. This includes entities such as money services businesses, securities brokers/dealers, futures commission merchants, and mutual funds.

FinCEN's guidance extends regulatory coverage to various business models involving the transmission of digital assets, including P2P exchangers, hosted wallet providers, and operators of convertible virtual currency (CVC) kiosks, among others.

Relevant Laws and Initiatives

Digital asset activities are governed by laws such as the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), and Securities Exchange Act. The updated Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) broadened the scope of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) by incorporating businesses involved in the exchange or transfer of value as currency substitutes within the definition of "financial institutions."

The proposed Responsible Financial Innovation Act aims to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets, addressing securities, commodities, taxation, customer protection, and more.

Mining Legality

Mining cryptocurrency is legal in all US states, but some states may impose restrictions due to environmental concerns. For instance, New York introduced a moratorium on certain types of crypto mining to mitigate energy consumption.

Compliance Measures

To stay compliant, crypto businesses must register with FinCEN, SEC, and/or CFTC depending on their activities and implement state-level regulations. A robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program is essential, including policies, independent testing, designated compliance officers, and ongoing training.

Moreover, companies must adhere to Customer Identification Program (CIP) requirements for customer verification during onboarding and transactions. Reporting suspicious activities and complying with BSA reporting requirements are also essential for regulatory adherence.

Each state may have its own regulations and licensing procedures for digital assets, potentially affecting businesses engaged in crypto-related activities. While cryptocurrencies are generally legal at the state level, differences in regulations mainly impact businesses rather than individual users.


The regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in the US is intricate and continually evolving. Companies operating in this space must remain abreast of regulatory developments and be prepared to adapt to changes swiftly. Compliance with existing and forthcoming regulations, along with implementing robust verification solutions, is vital for ensuring legality and mitigating risks associated with illicit activities like money laundering.

As the federal government continues its efforts to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets, proactive compliance measures will be indispensable for businesses navigating the complex regulatory environment of the US crypto market.


Related Articles