EU lawmakers will consider amending current anti-money laundering laws that were introduced last month in Italy. The modified law introduces specific definitions and articles with regards to virtual currency exchanges that facilitate trading between fiat currencies and bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
The Proposed Legislation Contains Numerous Articles That Directly Address Cryptocurrencies
The European Parliament is yet to approve the proposed modification of current anti-money laundering laws that were published in Italy late last month. The Italian Minister of Economy initiated discussion pertaining to the draft legislation in December 2016. The modified law, AML4, was introduced in Italy with its publication in the Italian Official Journal of the Legislative Decree 25th May 2017.
The proposed legislation contains numerous articles that directly address cryptocurrencies, in addition to introducing a specific registry for Virtual Currency Exchanges.
The current legislative decree recognized by the European Commission defines virtual currency as “a digital representation of value that is neither issued by a central bank or a public authority, nor attached to a legally established fiat currency which can be used as a means of exchange for the purchase of goods and services and transferred, stored and traded electronically.” Cryptocurrency exchanges are defined as virtual service providers: “any natural or legal person providing professional services to third parties for the use, the exchange, the storage related of virtual currencies and for the conversion from or in currencies having legal tender[.]”
The Proposed Decree Mandates That Virtual Currency Providers Gain Licensed Authorization From the Nation State in Which They Are Based
The proposed amendments defines a virtual currency ‘exchanger’ as a “[provider] engaged primarily and professionally in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies”.
Although the changes are subtle, the classification of virtual currency exchanges as entities differing from conventional money exchanges allows the development of tailored policy designed to address potential issues specific to virtual currency exchanges.
The proposed decree mandates that virtual currency providers gain licensed authorization from the nation state in which they are based. “Member States shall ensure that providers of exchanging services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies, custodian wallet providers, currency exchange and cheque cashing offices, and trust or company service providers are licensed or registered, and that providers of gambling services are regulated.”
Experts are expecting the European Parliament will likely vote on the provisions sometime after October 2017.