Bitcoin [BTC] and other cryptocurrency exchanges are not money transmitters under MTA, says State of Pennsylvania

The State of Pennsylvania has released a statement on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on their official portal. This guidance is in relation to the Money Transmitter Act [MTA] aka Money Transmission Business Licensing Law applicable to virtual currency exchanges.

The official statement also reveals that the Department of Banking and Securities [DoBS] of Pennsylvania has received multiple inquiries from businesses engaged in providing services related to buying, selling and trading cryptocurrencies. This was followed by the DoBS stating that the guidance is being published as they will not be addressing all the requests on a case-by-case basis.

According to MTA, money is defined as currency or legal tender that is recognized as a medium of exchange. To add on, the law of Pennsylvania stated that currency issued by the US government is only recognized as money in Pennsylvania. Due to this, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not classified as money according to the act. The statement also points that in the US, there has been not a single jurisdiction that has declared digital currency as a legal tender.

“…Thus, in order to “transmit” money under the MTA, fiat currency must be transferred with or on behalf of an individual to a 3rd party, and the money transmitter must charge a fee for the transmission”

They stated that a majority of the requests related to guidance on the applicability of the MTA were from cryptocurrency exchanges that were web-based. This was further followed by the DoBS deeming that these platforms are “not money transmitters” under the Money Transmitter Act.

“The Platforms, while never directly handling fiat currency, transact virtual currency settlements for the users and facilitate the change in ownership of virtual currencies for the users. There is no transferring money from a user to another user or 3rd party, and the Platform is not engaged in the business of providing payment services or money transfer services.”

The DoBS also gave an official statement on Kiosks and ATMs. They said:

“In both the one-way and two-way Kiosk systems, there is no transfer of money to any third party. The user of the Kiosk merely exchanges fiat currency for virtual currency and vice versa, and there is no money transmission. Thus, the entities operating the Kiosks would not be money transmitters under the MTA.”

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