In August, the Chicago-based Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative, which was meant to improve the safety of cash-to-crypto exchange transactions, was founded by DeLand’s Surety Bank, one of the founding members.
The cooperative — which includes Bitcoin ATM operators, regulatory agencies and traditional financial institutions among others — has an interest in combating fraud and other illicit uses of all types of cryptocurrency, which have seen a rise of popularity in recent years.
Ryan James, the CEO of Surety Bank, told Orlando Business Journal that currencies like Bitcoin and others will face bad actors without implementing some universal standards and best practices. “It’s our goal to increase regulatory standards and make this nontraditional form of currency safer for investors and businesses.”
Here, James spoke with OBJ about his goals with the cooperative, how his own bank works with cryptocurrency, some of the challenges of working with alternative currencies in Florida and more:
1. How often do banks run into cryptocurrency transactions in Central Florida? Cryptocurrency is the fastest adopted technology in history. There are some businesses for whom cryptocurrency makes good sense. A bank’s consumers may or may not be buying and selling cryptocurrencies, even if it doesn’t do business with cryptocurrency businesses.
2. What are the challenges around regulating cryptocurrency in the state? Financial regulators have to contend with the ongoing use of cryptocurrencies to fund illegal enterprises like fraud, elder abuse, drug trafficking and human trafficking. Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative intends to address these challenges by making compliance more efficient.
3. How much do you expect cryptocurrency use to grow in the coming years? Over the last several years, cryptocurrency interest and use have skyrocketed globally, and it shows no signs of stopping. There were many financial institutions that thought this technology would eventually die, but it is evident from the data that crypto is here to stay. Rather than shun the unknown, Surety Bank and others like us have worked hard to carve out a place to provide services to crypto-related businesses while maintaining security and standards.
4. What functions will the regulatory group have? In order to provide regulatory guidance specific to the cash-to-cryptocurrency industry, we created the Cryptocurrency Compliance Cooperative. We will provide insight and best practices to detect and block bad actors using the Bitcoin Teller Machine industry to facilitate money laundering, human trafficking and theft.
5. How has Surety Bank interacted with cryptocurrency in its business or banking offerings? Often banks are hesitant to work with cryptocurrency-related businesses because they don’t have the capacity or expertise to monitor them. Dedicated teams at Surety Bank provide traditional banking services to cryptocurrency-related companies. As anti-money laundering experts, we take this responsibility seriously and meticulously monitor these accounts.