Interview by David Berger, CEO of the Digital Currency Council, with Alan Williams – CEO of BitcoinAdvice.net. Alan’s team at BitcoinAdvice.net includes management consultants with experience in digital currencies, regulation, compliance and technology.
David: Alan, Thank you for your time today. BSA/AML compliance is certainly on a lot of Bitcoin executives’ minds these days. How do you help your clients? Are you primarily working with clients in Houston, where you’re headquartered, or also across the country and the globe?
Alan: Regulators have made it clear that Bitcoin-related entities must obtain the proper licensure, create a BSA/AML program and carry out certain government reporting responsibilities. We work with our clients to address these requirements by building a strong and sustainable compliance framework that’s both flexible and scalable. Additionally, we will provide technology to automate processes in BSA/AML and specialized strategic marketing systems to facilitate revenue growth of our clients. Just like Bitcoin, our client base knows no boundaries or borders. We work with clients all over the globe!
David: When you’re speaking with clients, what are the risks that you highlight to them?
Alan: We immediately begin our conversation about the importance of adhering to regulatory requirements and the risks associated with non-compliance. It’s important to build a culture of compliance from day one, irrespective of one’s opinion about regulations. Unfortunately, there are more than enough case studies of Bitcoin entrepreneurs that did not head the warnings of government regulators and paid the price.
David: Given the prominent real world case studies of how not to act, are the risks becoming obvious to executives?
Alan: For us, it’s all about educating the client and arming them with the proper tools to mitigate these risks. We speak openly and pointedly with our clients as to the risks involved and how best to logically address them.
David: How important are the tax, legal, and regulatory issues to your clients? Do you work closely with attorneys and accountants on these issues?
Alan: Addressing these issues is absolutely critical to success and sustainability. There’s a reason that our clients (and the Bitcoin community itself) overwhelmingly identify regulation as the biggest concern. The fluid nature of the regulatory environment, burdensome requirements, and demanding government regulators can be both frustrating and exhausting.
David: How focused on the regulatory compliance issues are your clients? Are they a primary concern?
Alan: Our clients simply want to be unshackled from these demands in order to grow their business and reach their full potential. Using a holistic approach, we bring together AML compliance professionals, lawyers, accounts and other specialists to help our clients hit these issues head-on. When the burden is eased and the pieces begin to fall into place it’s amazing what our clients are able to accomplish. It’s a source of pride for us.
David: Alan, thank you very much for your time, insight and membership in the Digital Currency Council.
Alan: My pleasure.