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5AMLD – 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive: Cryptocurrencies

5AMLD – 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive: Cryptocurrencies

Although much of 5MLD’s content updates the 4MLD, it makes a significant new legislative step in the treatment of virtual currencies. In more detail, 5MLD introduces the following measures:

  • A legal definition of cryptocurrency, which may broadly be regarded as “a digital representation of value that can be digitally transferred, stored or traded and is accepted… as a medium of exchange”.
  • Cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges are considered “obliged entities”, and face the same CFT/AML regulations applied to financial institutions under 4MLD. Practically, this involves an obligation to perform customer due diligence (CDD), and submit suspicious activity reports (SAR).
  • 5MLD actually goes further than 4MLD in its reporting obligations, by giving Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) a mandate to obtain the addresses and identities of owners of virtual currency – and so push back against the anonymity associated with the use of cryptocurrency.
  • 5MLD also introduces regulation for providers of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets – which must now be registered with the competent authorities in their domestic locations, for example, Germany’s BaFin, or the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.
5AMLD Crypto Crytpocurrency Exchanges

The introduction of regulations paves the way for EU operators to introduce more cryptocurrency products and, crucially, to compete with Asian markets. Remigio Bonguliemi, Chief Compliance Officer of Trade.io, points out that safety is key to cryptocurrency confidence: “If you’re launching centralized products, having regulations is incredibly helpful to be able to sleep at night, and know that you’re not doing anything illegal.”

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