This past week has witnessed several developments in the sphere of cryptocurrency regulations. In recent days, the U.K. government has assessed bitcoin as possessing a “relatively low” money laundering risk, Taiwan’s central bank has stated that bitcoin trading should be incorporated under the purview of existing money laundering laws, and France’s financial regulator has requested public consultation with stakeholders regarding the development of legislation governing initial coin offerings (ICOs).
The U.K. Has Assessed Bitcoin as Posing A “Low” Threat to Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regulations
According to a recent HM Treasury report, the U.K. government has determined that cryptocurrencies pose a “low risk” for terrorist financing. The report states that the U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA) has determined that the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering is “relatively low”, despite stating that virtual currencies are used a means to “launder low amounts at high volume.”
The U.K. government’s assessments echo the conclusions of a report issued two years prior by the country’s Treasury department. Looking ahead, the recent reports predicts growing cryptocurrency adoption may lead to a rise in its use as a vehicle for money laundering, stating “as the number of businesses accepting digital currency payments grows, there is an increasing risk of criminals using the currencies to launder funds without needing to cash out into non-digital, or ‘fiat’ currencies.” The paper suggests that the prevalence of bitcoin being used for terrorist financing is “unlikely to increase in the next five years.
Taiwan’s Central Bank Hopes to Extend Anti-Money Laundering Legislation to Incorporate Bitcoin Trading
The governor of Taiwan’s central bank, Perng Fai-nan, has stated that bitcoin trading should be incorporated into the country’s notification system for money laundering prevention legislation. Governor Fai-nan’s statements were made in response to questions from lawmakers during the 44th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank.
The announcement comes just months after the executive branch of the Taiwanese government established an Anti-Money Laundering Office – which was formally set up for the first time in March of this year. At the start of October, Wellington Koo, the chairman of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission, expressed the nation’s desire to avoid taking a heavy-handed approach to cryptocurrency and ICO regulations, generally stating that the Taiwanese administration will seek to emulate Japanese cryptocurrency legislation.
France’s AMF Is Seeking Public Consultation Regarding the Development of ICO Regulations
France’s financial regulator, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), has requested to consult with industry stakeholders regarding the development of ICO regulations. The AMF is now open to public consultation regarding ICOs, and will accept contributions to the consultation process until December 22. The AMF has also updated its conclusions following in-depth research into the potential legal ramifications of the ICO industry, stating that some ICOs may be subject to existing legal provisions pertaining to public offerings of financial securities, or management of an alternative investment fund.
The AMF also announced that it will launch a program designed to support and research fundraising through digital assets. The program will be called UNICORN (Universal Node to ICO Research & Network, and will seek to offer a framework for the development and execution of initial coin offerings. The AMF has stated that it hopes to “deepen its legal and economic expertise,” and “encourage academic research on this subject and will publish a first impact analysis of these new forms of financing within one year.”