It's hard for a currency to be much hotter than Bitcoin is right now.
After starting 2013 worth just about $13 per coin, the crypto-currency blew up, ending the year trading at over $800 for a single Bitcoin. That's a return on investment of more than 6,000 percent for those lucky enough to get in early enough, spurred in no small part due to global fascination with the possibilities inherent in the new technology.
For financial businesses, however, not all of those possibilities are good.
The U.S. Treasury Department is concerned that Bitcoins could be tied with money laundering, and sent out roughly a dozen letters to this effect. Those messages went out to businesses linked with the currency, warning them that they were still required to abide by all rules concerning AML compliance, and should be aware of any oversights that might cause legal action.
For Bitcoin-related businesses enjoying the spoils created by the rapidly appreciating technology, these missives delivered sobering news.
The letters request that the company owners detail the nature of their business with different currencies, and reminds them that they while they might not think of themselves as money transmitters, they are essentially functioning in that role. As such, they are legally bound to uphold all federal regulations with regards to disclosure.
For a business accepting a cutting-edge financial technology like Bitcoin, it's important to work with a company experienced in crafting AML software. The Treasury Department is clearly serious about cracking down on any potential violations, and being on the wrong side of one could have disastrous effects.