3. AML rules for crypto-businesses and virtual assets become a standard
As global cryptocurrency adoption continues, 2019 will be the year that firms get serious about AML compliance. Authorities have wrestled with the AML risk crypto poses for years, with some territories, like Japan and Switzerland, adopting a considered approach allowing for trade and investment, and others, like China and South Korea, opting for tight restrictions on exchanges and mining.
The unevenness of the cryptocurrency landscape has prompted efforts by governments to develop a global regulatory framework. The FATF answered this call and will release a set of international AML standards in June 2019. Beyond government intervention, Morgan Creek founder, Anthony Pompliano, suggests that crypto businesses themselves should be encouraging regulation in 2019, simply to “increase the addressable market for adoption”.
At a national level, Asian regulators are likely to continue to take progressive steps in the regulation of virtual assets. Keep an eye on the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) who ramped up their engagement with the sector in 2018. The EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) will introduce AML obligations for cryptocurrency exchanges operating within member states which will have to be complied with by 2020. All this suggests that, in 2019, big moves are likely in the global regulation of cryptocurrencies – which will inevitably prompt the industry to adopt new monitoring and compliance tools. As Nick Chong, Head of Americas for Liquid, points out:
“Wider adoption and regulations are like the yin and yang of cryptocurrencies: one cannot exist without the other.”
– Nick Chong, Head of North America, Liquid
Tip: The FATF guidance should provide crypto businesses with a clear framework of how to perform AML compliance, prepare to use this to inform your risk assessment and procedures. Remember if you make any changes to your compliance practices based off this guidance you still need to align any changes with the regulations of the jurisdiction that you operate in.