Below is a summary of some of the significant legal and regulatory actions that occurred over the past week. This alert is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all such developments, but rather a selection of publicly-reported news that may be of particular interest.

U.S. Developments

FinCEN Announces Measure to Track Cash Buyers of High-End Real Estate in Six Metropolitan Areas
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) recently announced its plan to renew its existing “Geographic Targeting Orders” or “GTOs,” which require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the natural persons behind shell companies used to purchase residential high-end real estate with all cash. FinCEN Press Release, Feb. 23, 2017

Federal Reserve Governor Powell Remarks on the Future of Finance and Capital Markets
Governor Powell explained the Federal Reserve’s objectives and focused on the intersection of those objectives with areas where technological innovation is driving change:  “creating a real-time retail payments system, using distributed ledger technology to develop new clearing and settlement services, and the issuance of digital currencies by central banks.” Governor Powell March 3, 2017 Federal Reserve Board Speech

Bitcoin Companies Stop Service to Hawaii and Washington Customers Because of State Regulations
Coinbase announced this week that it will stop serving customers in Hawaii due to Hawaiian regulations on money transmitters. Coinbase blog

The California Legislature Attempts to Prohibit Using Bitcoin in Charitable Raffles
A bill before the California State Senate related to charitable organizations, includes a provision that specifically prohibits an eligible organization (e.g., a private, nonprofit organization) from selling charitable raffle tickets in exchange for “Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.” CA SB 741 (2017)

Alabama Legislature Considers a Bill to Adopt the “Alabama Money Transmitter Act.”
Alabama Legislators have taken steps to adopt legislation regulating money transmitters. The bill would require any person engaging in the business of money transmissions to apply for and obtain a license from the state. AL HB215

West Virginia Legislators Introduce a Bill Adding Cryptocurrency to the Criminal Statutory Scheme
Late last month, a bill was introduced to the West Virginia House that would make money laundering with cryptocurrency a felony under the state’s criminal code, Chapter 61. WV HB2585

International Developments

The EU Imposes the Same Obligations on Virtual Currencies as other Payment Institutions
The European Parliament proposed adding virtual currency platforms to the scope of its amended anti-money laundering directive, which passed committee this week by 92 votes to 1. European Parliament 2.28.2017 Press Release

Click here to read the full post on our sister blog, Virtual Currency Report. For a comprehensive list of developments please see our Virtual Currencies: International Actions and Regulations.