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SEC, FinCEN and CFTC issue rare 3-party joint statement on digital assets

Three of the most important financial regulatory bodies in the US -- the SEC, FinCEN and the CFTC -- issued a rare 3-party joint statement on Friday regarding digital assets. The statement emphasized that people who engage in digital asset activities must abide by their anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) obligations via the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA.)

Financial institutions with AML/CFT obligations include futures commission merchants, CFTC registered brokers, money services businesses (MSBs) registered with FinCEN and SEC-registered broker-dealers and mutual funds. These institutions must establish and put in place effective AML programs including diligent record keeping and reporting, particularly of suspicious activity.

The Agencies stated that digital assets for the purposes of the statement "include instruments that may qualify under applicable U.S. laws as securities, commodities, and security- or commodity-based instruments such as futures or swaps."

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton added that "market participants receiving payments or engaging in other transactions in digital assets should consider such transactions to present similar or additional risks, including AML/CFT risks, as are presented by transactions in cash and cash equivalents."