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How To Get Crypto Exchange License In USA?

Find best crypto exchange in the USA and how to get License for cryptocurrency

Today, the market for cryptocurrency exchange is growing due to the fame and interest of cryptocurrency rising worldwide. Given the daily occurrence of enormous trading volume, you can start the Crypto Exchange License In USA for a lucrative commercial undertaking.

The revenue of the crypto market will reach an impressive amount of 23.2 billion US dollars in 2024. Further, the forecast for yearly growth rate throughout 2024 and 2028 will be 9.10%, i.e., 32.9 billion US dollars by 2028. Therefore, you can aim to build a successful business enterprise in the crypto landscape.

However, there are some licensing requirements if you plan to operate a crypto exchange in the US. In this post, you will discover how to acquire a license for your crypto exchange in the United States of America. 

Story behind crypto license exchange in USA

It was around 2013 when the regulations for cryptocurrency became the focus of attention beneath legislation. The state authorities delivered the judgement of not banning the virtual currency while forming a legal framework for usage.

Hence, crypto in the USA is classified as decentralized and operates similarly to the fiat currency. As a result, the exchanges and other agencies undergoing operations using the virtual currencies must:

  •       Get listed as an MSB (money services business) or financial services.
  •       Acquire a license for related operations.
  •       Inform the forces of law and order about the transactions introducing doubts.

Crypto tax USA is equivalent to property taxes with country-level governance. Any profit from activities involving crypto will be seen as a capital gain profit and is liable for taxes under the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) in the United States.

Violating token placement and crypto exchange rules is a criminal act under the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Similarly, you must understand the crypto tax USA regulations to start a crypto exchange in the USA.

Types of crypto license exchange in USA

One can divide crypto exchanges into two categories – traditional and fiat exchanges. 


Traditional Exchanges

Fiat Exchanges

It only enables users to exchange one cryptocurrency for another. It can exchange fiat currency for crypto and vice versa.
Requires less stringent licensing It needs more severe licensing due to the complexity of operating.

These crypto exchanges differ in terms of operation and licensing. You may determine your crypto exchange license in USA based on the jurisdiction and different exchanges or operations it delivers.

Further, there are two types of licenses for cryptocurrency – specialized crypto licenses and traditional financial licenses.

  1. Specialized Crypto Licenses: The authorities issue these licenses with particular and direct control of the operations regarding the trade of crypto.
  2. Traditional Financial Licenses: These also govern the activities concerning different financial operations, which are indirectly subject to crypto trade.

How to get crypto license exchange in USA?

In the past year, the multistate coalitions saw an increase in safeguarding the laws of state securities against well-established companies in the blockchain space.

In June 2023, nine states filed legal actions against the popular cryptocurrency platform Coinbase and its parent corporation. The allegations state that the platform’s program for staking rewards incorporates non-registered securities sales, violating the state’s security laws.

Another case is Nexo Inc.’s offering non-registered securities, violating the blue sky laws. Five states filed a cease-and-desist against the company. As a result, dynamic cryptocurrency demands compliance with crypto exchange regulations and licensing.

You must obtain a license for your crypto exchange license in USA to establish a successful cryptocurrency business. To set up a crypto business venture in the USA, you will need to do the following:

  •       Get approval from FinCEN, or Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, to function as an MSB.
  •       Ensure the state agency issues a Money Transmitter License for the registration of the concerned
  •       You must state that your ICOs, or initial coin offerings, are SEC-regulated.
  •       To buy crypto in USA, you must ensure the crypto exchange has a valid license. In the USA, the federal and
    state governments grant this license.

What are the procedures for obtaining a crypto license exchange in USA?

You must undergo the licensing procedure to establish and run a successful crypto exchange business. It will depend on the company’s jurisdiction for operation. The following are the steps you must follow to obtain a cryptocurrency license.


  1. Determine The Right Jurisdiction

Based on the planned activities of your company and customer base’s jurisdiction, the hired agents will suggest the most appropriate region and crypto license for your revenue model. For this, you will need to become familiar with the requirements of cryptocurrency licenses.

Businesses must determine whether their crypto comes under the FinCEN jurisdiction or the SEC. You must understand the licensing requirements of different states and other regulations.

Cryptocurrency Licensing In Different States

While you can register your platform’s valid license across America, businesses have the option for state-level registration. An individual state license will be sufficient if you plan to build the best crypto exchange license in USA.

It will enable you to open the required bank accounts and execute appropriate operations. The government fee size varies for every state, from Utah’s 200 USA dollar fee to Oklahoma’s 7000 USA dollar fee.

2.  Company Registration As An MSB

The next step involves acquiring a crypto license in the USA to register your business as an MSB with FinCEN. The crypto exchange business must fill out the “FinCEN registration of Money Service Business’ form and submit it via the ‘BSA E-Filling System’ of FinCEN. You must renew this registration every two years.

3.  AML Program Creation & Implementation

FinCEN demands MSBs to create, implement, and incorporate influential AML (anti-money laundering) programs to prevent the use of these businesses for money laundering or funding terrorist activities. These AML programs must comprise the following:

  •       Organize essential papered policies, processes, and internal controls, guaranteeing persistent compliance
    with appropriate conditions.
  •       Ensure someone is overseeing the daily BSA requirements compliance.
  •       Train and educate the employed staff on the anti-money laundering program to ensure they can identify
    and react to doubtful transactions.
  •       Individual reviewing to sustain and control an acceptable program.

4.  Know Your Customer Policies

KYC policies demand Businesses to determine who your client is and confirm their identity. The businesses must collect the personal details of their customers, including name, DOB, address, and ID number issued by the government. These policies help prevent fraud, terrorism financing, as well as money laundering.

5.  Filing & Reporting Suspicious Transactions

Every MSB must report on every 2000+ USA dollar transaction in case of suspicion. One may define a transaction as suspicious if:

  •       The transaction may retrieve funds through unlawful activities;
  •       Some may sell or buy crypto in USA to evade BSA requirements;
  •       The transaction may not disclose the fund’s source, location, nature, control, and ownership coming from
    illicit activities;
  •       Some transactions utilize MSB as a way to perform various criminal activities;
  •       There is no lawful or reasonable purpose for the transaction

6.  Getting A Money Transmitter License

Your crypto exchange must acquire a Money Transmitter License from each state to run as a money transmitter in your desired location for business. The federal-level regulation is for guaranteeing financial security and preventing money laundering.

Conversely, the license for state-level regulations protects the clients and ascertains the applicants’ solvency, security, and integrity. Since each state has different criteria, a company cannot obtain a single license.

The states may upload their applications and essential papers to a website to help you acquire this license – Nationwide Multistate Licensing System. The states with the most licenses for money transmission comprise West Virginia, North Carolina, New York, Alaska, Mississippi, Oregon, Georgia, etc.

For New York, you must acquire a BitLicense to execute the crypto exchange operations of your company. Meanwhile, Wyoming is among the friendliest jurisdictions for cryptocurrency. 

7.  Ongoing Compliances

Once a cryptocurrency exchange venture acquires the license, it must continue observing the compliances at the state and federal levels to maintain a valid license. It can be stressful as the cryptocurrency regulatory framework is in an incipient stage and constantly evolving.

Non-Compliance Consequences With FinCEN, crypto license exchange in USA

Considerable consequences occur when a company does not comply with the state and federal level regulations and rules. Since unlicensed transmission is illegal, the authorities can sentence imprisonment up to five years.

Binance, among the largest crypto exchanges worldwide, has been under fire since November 2023 because it failed to prevent increasing cryptocurrency theft and money laundering. The company’s CEO Zhao had to step down after pleading guilty. Binance will be under monitoring for five years and must leave the USA market entirely.

Most recently, Binance USA got banned in Alaska and Florida following the guilty plea of the CEO. Moreover, Florida has suspended the crypto exchange’s license. There have been additional unregistered MSB cases with ineffective AML programs and failure to report suspicious transactions.


Before establishing a crypto business in the USA, understanding how to buy cryptocurrency and consulting a regulatory and legal expert is essential. It will enable businesses to comply with various related laws. Your business can run appropriately and safely after obtaining a crypto license.

This step is crucial for enhancing the reputation of the enterprises and building trust with the clients. The guarantee of a promising future for businesses demands the accomplishment of a crypto exchange registration.

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