EU adopts stricter rules for crypto currencies

Online trading centres within the EU are to be regulated more strictly in future as part of the recently adopted reform of the directive against money laundering and terrorist financing. The users of such trading centres and the addresses of their wallets will also have to be stored centrally in future.

But the reform goes far beyond that Bitcoin formula

Last Thursday, the European Parliament adopted the fifth reform of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Directive. Not only the operators of Bitcoin formula trading platforms for virtual currencies will have to be licensed and registered in the future. They must also record and control the identity of their Bitcoin formula customers within the framework of the “usual due diligence obligations” of banks and financial institutions. In order to achieve this, the identity of customers and their wallet addresses will have to be stored in a central database in future. This is intended to abolish the anonymity of crypto currencies, which does not exist with Bitcoin and many other virtual currencies anyway. In addition, the “potential for misuse for criminal purposes” is to be restricted, which, according to the EU, is associated with the use of crypto currencies.

Like all banks, online trading venues will in future have to keep all transaction documents for up to ten years after the end of the business relationship with the customer. In the case of long-term customer relationships, the retention obligation will be extended accordingly. The new directive remains rather vague when it comes to which criminal offences may be stored by the EU’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is part of customs. Crimes with a maximum penalty of more than one year are already considered predicate offences to money laundering. This could even include minor offences such as defamation, which the EU analysis unit may in future store and evaluate on a long-term basis.

EU fights anonymity on many Bitcoin trader fronts

In other respects, too, regulation is directed against anonymous Bitcoin trader transactions. The EU Parliament has lowered the threshold for anonymous payments via prepaid cards to 150 euros. Within Germany, the maximum is 100 euros anyway. This is what onlinebetrug recommends a Bitcoin trader. In the future, providers of prepaid cards will have to monitor the identity of their customers more closely. Some EU parliamentarians have even spoken out in favour of banning all anonymous transactions and regulating cash payments even more strictly. They assume that cash payments above a certain level must automatically have an illegal background. While the German government is opposed to this, several EU states already have strict limits on cash purchases.

There has also been criticism with regard to the lack of reform of central banking supervision. The ECB supervisory authority still has no powers at national level in the fight against money laundering. It also relies on information from national authorities which, as in the case of Malta and Latvia, have withheld their data for longer periods of time.

EU countries have 18 months from the entry into force of the new Directive to transpose the new rules into national law. Some provisions, on the other hand, have longer transitional periods.