• Giacomo Breda

The New AML Directive includes cryptocurrencies

On Thursday 19 April, the latest update to the EU Directive 2015/849 was made, which will merge into the text of the new anti-money laundering discipline. Several novelties such as public access to information or operations in cryptocurrencies and related services. A certain surprise is an interest in virtual coins. These currencies are not the example of transparency. Since its creation, they have been viewed with suspicion but also with a certain degree of mistrust in terms of transparency and money laundering. It seems natural that the EU should pose the problem of regulating some of the most problematic aspects, including the anti-money laundering discipline. In many countries is an open discussion of new legislative measures in this direction, such as new rules on AML to prevent financial crimes and specifically aimed at providers of foreign exchange services in cryptocurrencies. In the text of this new directive, the scope of AML legislation has also been extended to new virtual coin players. Words have been added to the text as "foreign exchange service provider between virtual currencies and legal currencies", "digital portfolio service provider". In the text we tried to define the "virtual currency" or "a representation of digital value that is not issued or guaranteed by a central bank or a public body, is not necessarily linked to a legally established currency, does not possess the legal status of currency, but it is accepted by natural and legal persons as a medium of exchange and can be transferred, stored and exchanged electronically". The text contains definitions of "digital portfolio service providers", the subjects that "provide services to safeguard private cryptographic keys on behalf of their clients, in order to hold, store and transfer virtual currencies". These subjects will have to be registered with the national monetary authorities because in the text is written that "The Member States shall ensure that providers of foreign exchange services between virtual currencies and legal currencies, and digital portfolio service providers are registered". The new directive establishes the obligation for national authorities to prepare suitable instruments to register those who work in cryptocurrencies, in order to exercise a more penetrating control over the movements involving these assets. With this new Directive is sure the explicit extension on AML legislation to transactions with virtual currencies. This represents an end was made of any doubts as to their non-involvement in the regulatory circuit, at least within the ambit of money laundering.

Giacomo Breda

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