Summary of Relevant E-Cash Law

by Mark Zavislak


This list is intended to be non-overlapping with the previous students' list.


I. Criminal Penalties for Money Transmission by Unlicensed Entities


18 U.S.C. § 1960. Prohibition of unlicensed money transmitting businesses

(a) Whoever knowingly conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business, shall be fined in accordance with this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(b) As used in this section—

(1) the term “unlicensed money transmitting business” means a money transmitting business which affects interstate or foreign commerce in any manner or degree and—

(A) is operated without an appropriate money transmitting license in a State where such operation is punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony under State law, whether or not the defendant knew that the operation was required to be licensed or that the operation was so punishable;

(B) fails to comply with the money transmitting business registration requirements under section 5330 of title 31, United States Code, or regulations prescribed under such section; or

(C) otherwise involves the transportation or transmission of funds that are known to the defendant to have been derived from a criminal offense or are intended to be used to promote or support unlawful activity;

(2) the term “money transmitting” includes transferring funds on behalf of the public by any and all means including but not limited to transfers within this country or to locations abroad by wire, check, draft, facsimile, or courier; and

(3) the term “State” means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.



II. Regulation of Digital Currency Issuers in the United States


31 C.F.R. § 103.11 Meaning of terms.

(uu) Money services business. Each agent, agency, branch, or office within the United States of any person doing business, whether or not on a regular basis or as an organized business concern, in one or more of the capacities listed in paragraphs (uu)(1) through (uu)(6) of this section. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the term “money services business” shall not include a bank, nor shall it include a person registered with, and regulated or examined by, the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

(5) Money transmitter —(i) In general. Money transmitter:

(A) Any person, whether or not licensed or required to be licensed, who engages as a business in accepting currency, or funds denominated in currency, and transmits the currency or funds, or the value of the currency or funds, by any means through a financial agency or institution, … or an electronic funds transfer network; or

(B) Any other person engaged as a business in the transfer of funds.

(ii) Facts and circumstances; Limitation. Whether a person “engages as a business” … is a matter of facts and circumstances. Generally, the acceptance and transmission of funds as an integral part of the execution and settlement of a transaction other than the funds transmission itself (for example, in connection with a bona fide sale of securities or other property), will not cause a person to be a money transmitter…


(vv) Stored value. Funds or monetary value represented in digital electronics format (whether or not specially encrypted) and stored or capable of storage on electronic media in such a way as to be retrievable and transferable electronically.


(l) Established customer. A person with an account with the financial institution, including a loan account or deposit or other asset account, or a person with respect to which the financial institution has obtained and maintains on file the person's name and address, as well as taxpayer identification number ( e.g., social security or employer identification number) or, if none, alien identification number or passport number and country of issuance, and to which the financial institution provides financial services relying on that information.


31 C.F.R. § 103.41 Registration of money services businesses.

(a) Registration requirement —(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, relating to agents, each money services business (whether or not licensed as a money services business by any State) must register with the Department of the Treasury and, as part of that registration, maintain a list of its agents as required by 31 U.S.C. 5330 and this section. This section does not apply to … a person to the extent that the person is an issuer, seller, or redeemer of stored value.


31 C.F.R. § 103.22 Reports of transactions in currency.

(b) Filing obligations —(1) … Each financial institution … shall file a report of each deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency or other payment or transfer, by, through, or to such financial institution which involves a transaction in currency of more than $10,000.


31 C.F.R. § 103.28 Identification Required.

Before concluding any transaction with respect to which a report is required under §103.22, a financial institution shall verify and record the name and address of the individual presenting a transaction, as well as record the identity, account number, and the social security or taxpayer identification number, if any, of any person or entity on whose behalf such transaction is to be effected. … Verification of identity … shall be made by examination of a document, other than a bank signature card, that is normally acceptable within the banking community as a means of identification when cashing checks for nondepositors ( e.g., a drivers license or credit card). … In each instance, the specific identifying information ( i.e., the account number of the credit card, the driver's license number, etc.) used in verifying the identity of the customer shall be recorded on the report, and the mere notation of “known customer” or “bank signature card on file” on the report is prohibited.


31 C.F.R. § Records to be made and retained by financial institutions.

(f) Nonbank financial institutions. Each agent, agency, branch, or office located within the United States of a financial institution other than a bank is subject to the requirements of this paragraph (f) with respect to a transmittal of funds in the amount of $3,000 or more:

(1) Recordkeeping requirements. (i) For each transmittal order that it accepts as a transmittor's financial institution, a financial institution shall obtain and retain either … the following information relating to the transmittal order:

(A) The name and address of the originator;

(B) The amount of the payment order;

(C) The execution date of the payment order;

(D) Any payment instructions received from the originator with the payment order;

(E) The identity of the beneficiary's bank; and

(F) As many of the following items as are received with the payment order:

( 1 ) The name and address of the beneficiary;

( 2 ) The account number of the beneficiary; and

( 3 ) Any other specific identifier of the beneficiary.

(G) Any form relating to the transmittal of funds that is completed or signed by the person placing the transmittal order.

(ii) For each transmittal order that it accepts as an intermediary financial institution, a financial institution shall retain … [a] record of the transmittal order.

(iii) for each transmittal order that it accepts as a recipient's financial institution, a financial institution shall retain … [a] record of the transmittal order.

(2) Transmittors other than established customers. In the case of a transmittal order from a transmittor that is not an established customer…

(ii) If the transmittal order … is not made in person, the transmittor's financial institution shall [also] obtain and retain a record of the name and address of the person placing the transmittal order, as well as the person's taxpayer identification number … or passport number and country of issuance, or a notation in the record of the lack thereof, and a copy or record of the method of payment ( e.g., check or credit card transaction) for the transmittal of funds…

(3) Recipients other than established customers. For each transmittal order that it accepts as a recipient's financial institution for a recipient that is not an established customer…

(ii) If the proceeds are delivered other than in person, the recipient's financial institution shall [also] retain a copy of the check or other instrument used to effect payment, or the information contained thereon, as well as the name and address of the person to which it was sent.


31 C.F.R. § 103.20   Reports by money services businesses of suspicious transactions.

(a) General. (1) Every money services business … shall file with the Treasury Department … a report of any suspicious transaction relevant to a possible violation of law or regulation.

(2) A transaction requires reporting under the terms of this section if it is conducted or attempted by, at, or through a money services business, involves or aggregates funds or other assets of at least $2,000 … and the money services business knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction (or a pattern of transactions of which the transaction is a part):

(i) Involves funds derived from illegal activity or is intended or conducted in order to hide or disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activity (including, without limitation, the ownership, nature, source, location, or control of such funds or assets) as part of a plan to violate or evade any federal law or regulation or to avoid any transaction reporting requirement under federal law or regulation;

(ii) Is designed, whether through structuring or other means, to evade any requirements of this part or of any other regulations promulgated under the Bank Secrecy Act…

(iii) Serves no business or apparent lawful purpose, and the reporting money services business knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction.

(iv) Involves use of the money services business to facilitate criminal activity.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a transaction that involves solely the issuance, or facilitation of the transfer of stored value, or the issuance, sale, or redemption of stored value, shall not be subject to reporting under this paragraph (a), until the promulgation of rules specifically relating to such reporting.


31 C.F.R. § 103.125   Anti-money laundering programs for money services businesses.

(a) Each money services business … shall develop, implement, and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program. An effective anti-money laundering program is one that is reasonably designed to prevent the money services business from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

(b) The program shall be commensurate with the risks posed by the location and size of, and the nature and volume of the financial services provided by, the money services business.

(c) The program shall be in writing, and a money services business shall make copies of the anti-money laundering program available for inspection to the Department of the Treasury upon request.



III. International Regulation of Money Transmitters


31 U.S.C. § 5318A. Special measures for jurisdictions, financial institutions, international transactions, or types of accounts of primary money laundering concern

(a) International Counter-Money Laundering Requirements.—

(1) In general.— The Secretary of the Treasury may require domestic financial institutions and domestic financial agencies to take … special measures described in subsection (b) if the Secretary finds that reasonable grounds exist for concluding that a jurisdiction, … financial institution, …, class of transactions, or … type of accounts is of primary money laundering concern…

_(b) Special Measures.— The special measures referred to in subsection (a) …are as follows:

(1) Recordkeeping and reporting of certain financial transactions…

(2) Information relating to beneficial ownership…

(3) Information relating to certain payable-through accounts…

(4) Information relating to certain correspondent accounts…

(5) Prohibitions or conditions on opening or maintaining certain correspondent or payable-through accounts…

(c)(2) Additional considerations.— In making a finding … the Secretary shall consider in addition such information as the Secretary determines to be relevant, including the following potentially relevant factors:

(A) Jurisdictional factors.— In the case of a particular jurisdiction—

(i) evidence that organized criminal groups, international terrorists, or entities involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or missiles have transacted business in that jurisdiction;

(ii) the extent to which that jurisdiction or financial institutions operating in that jurisdiction offer bank secrecy or special regulatory advantages to nonresidents or nondomiciliaries of that jurisdiction;

(iii) the substance and quality of administration of the bank supervisory and counter-money laundering laws of that jurisdiction;

(iv) the relationship between the volume of financial transactions occurring in that jurisdiction and the size of the economy of the jurisdiction;

(v) the extent to which that jurisdiction is characterized as an offshore banking or secrecy haven by credible international organizations or multilateral expert groups;

(vi) whether the United States has a mutual legal assistance treaty with that jurisdiction, and the experience of United States law enforcement officials and regulatory officials in obtaining information about transactions originating in or routed through or to such jurisdiction; and

(vii) the extent to which that jurisdiction is characterized by high levels of official or institutional corruption.

(B) Institutional factors.— In the case of a decision to apply 1 or more of the special measures described in subsection (b) only to a financial institution or institutions, or to a transaction or class of transactions, or to a type of account, or to all 3, within or involving a particular jurisdiction—

(i) the extent to which such financial institutions, transactions, or types of accounts are used to facilitate or promote money laundering in or through the jurisdiction, including any money laundering activity by organized criminal groups, international terrorists, or entities involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or missiles;

(ii) the extent to which such institutions, transactions, or types of accounts are used for legitimate business purposes in the jurisdiction; and

(iii) the extent to which such action is sufficient to ensure, with respect to transactions involving the jurisdiction and institutions operating in the jurisdiction, that the purposes of this subchapter continue to be fulfilled, and to guard against international money laundering and other financial crimes.