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Author Topic: US based Escrow/Dispute resolution legality  (Read 1160 times)
vdek
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August 21, 2013, 01:50:38 PM
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I'm currently developing a services based site where one major feature is an escrow service to connect a buyer and a seller in order to guarantee the safety of funds.

My Scenario is essentially

User A requests to buy an Item/Service from User B
User A sends 1BTCto my Escrow address, User C

Now it branches ->
If User A successfully receives the Item/Service from User B, User A clears the funds.
User C sends the 1BTC -fee to User B

If User A does not successfully receive the Item/Service he files a dispute
User C investigates the issue and sends the 1BTC-fee back to User A or to User B depending on the findings.


That's the jist of it, a fairly basic Escrow/dispute system.  However my main concern is with the FinCEN ruling interpretation: http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-law-what-us-businesses-need-to-know/
Quote
  • Individuals who merely exchange bitcoin for goods and services (and vice versa) are merely “users” of a virtual currency, not money transmitters.

  • Businesses that accept bitcoin from one person and send it to another are money transmitters, and are not exempt from money transmission regulation simply because they do not deal in fiat currency.
  • Individual bitcoin miners who convert their “created” coins to fiat are money transmitters, even though they never act “as a business,” nor accept value from one person to transfer it to a third person.[
  • Any business that exchanges fiat currency for virtual currency – or even one virtual currency for another – is a money transmitter.

In my view I'm essentially offering a service, but technically I am transmitting BTC from one user to another...  How would I stand?  My business idea could survive without the escrow service, but it would negatively harm the service IMO.  If I could use multifactor authentication, I could probably avoid the notion that I'm sending money from one user to another, but I'm not sure how I would do web based multifactor transactions...  I'm currently planning on using the blockchain.info API for handling transactions.

I saw this https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=275397.0 thread, however im not looking into cashing out specifically and will be working entirely in bitcoins/litecoins.
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August 21, 2013, 02:47:31 PM
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For escrows, some state licencing may be advisable, for example:

California
http://www.corp.ca.gov/Laws/Escrow_Law/License.asp

Michigan
http://www.michigan.gov/statelicensesearch/0,4671,7-180-24786_24826-81555--,00.html

Washington
http://www.dfi.wa.gov/cs/escrow/escrow_act_info.htm

Each US state is different, depends on your location.

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