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Wells Fargo organizes meet to discuss Bitcoin rules: FT

Some of Bitcoin enthusiast Mike Caldwell's coins are pictured at his office in Sandy, Utah, September 17, 2013.REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Some of Bitcoin enthusiast Mike Caldwell's coins are pictured at his office in Sandy, Utah, September 17, 2013.REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co has called finance executives, virtual currency experts and U.S. government representatives to discuss "rules of engagement" with Bitcoin amid concern about the money laundering risk of the currency, the Financial Times reported.

The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday in San Francisco, focuses on the security issues surrounding banking and Bitcoin as financial regulators warn consumers on the risks of using unregulated online currencies, the London-based financial daily reported. (http://link.reuters.com/jen95v)

The fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets has shown interest in dealing with a potential new Bitcoin economy, but regulatory uncertainty has deterred banks from offering services to virtual currency start-ups, the newspaper said on Tuesday.

Bitcoin, which unlike conventional money is bought and sold on a peer-to-peer network independent of any central authority, has grown popular among users who lack faith in the established banking system.

Wells Fargo's anti-money laundering chief, Jim Richards, has launched a group to examine how the bank might safely offer Bitcoin-related services or banking arrangements to virtual currency entrepreneurs, the Financial Times said, quoting people familiar with the matter.

The bank aims to draw up a new set of anti-money laundering rules for financial institutions to follow when dealing with virtual currency start-ups, the paper said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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