A few disparate thoughts regarding FinCEN's takedown of BTC-e:

  • For critics, the criminal activity of one of the oldest and largest digital currency firms will serve as the prime example of the risks of cryptocurrency. 
  • BTC-e's operations fell well outside of the bounds of compliance negligence. The charges represent conscious decisions to engage in money laundering, cyber attacks, identity theft and narcotics distribution. 
  • This will likely and disproportionately affect other Bitcoin exchanges through regulatory and law enforcement scrutiny. Exchanges with gaps in their compliance programs may suffer greater penalties for less-egregious AML program failures.
  • Exchanges with proactive compliance programs  may be able to leverage their lowered risk as a competitive advantage. Digital currency users have a tangible stake in transacting on legitimate, compliant platforms.