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An interview with payments lawyer Steve Middlebrook on the recent FinCEN virtual currency guidance

by Stephen D. Palley

May 17, 2019, 2:00PM EDT  ·  6 min read

Quick Take

  • After FinCEN issued non-binding guidance on virtual currency, Stephen Palley interviewed attorney Steve Middlebrook, who runs a FinTech practice with a focus on payments
  • FinCEN’s new release is not a formal regulation, but informal guidance
  • Middlebrook said the guidance is mostly compiled from previous FinCEN statements and does not provide much new analysis but suspects it signals heightened enforcement activity in the future

by Stephen D. Palley

May 17, 2019, 2:00PM EDT  ·  6 min read

FinCEN recently issued non-binding guidance about the application of its guidance to virtual currencies, including bitcoin. There has been a good deal of chatter on social media about “what it all means,” but very little of it from lawyers with deep experience in payments and in the government, and even less with lawyers who have that experience as well as technical expertise.