The EU is not the only government looking to regulate cryptocurrencies. Policymakers worldwide are concerned about their citizens’ ability to keep money safe from fraud, theft, and other threats. Even so, more regulatory oversight may prove beneficial in the long term.
Cryptocurrency has been used for money laundering purposes by criminals who want to hide their criminal activity from authorities. As a result, many countries have increased the regulation of cryptocurrencies. In addition, officials set up laws requiring cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet providers to monitor transactions for suspicious activity or criminal behavior. That makes it harder for criminals to use cryptocurrency for money laundering purposes.
Governments also benefit significantly from this increased regulation. They can now track both incoming and outgoing funds within their country. Furthermore, they can opt to collect taxes on these transactions.
One example is the European Union’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5), which came into effect on January 10, 2020. It requires crypto exchanges and wallet providers to identify their customers and report suspicious transactions.
That is a good move for cryptocurrency companies because it will help them comply with existing anti-money laundering regulations like KYC/AML.
The European Union’s directive on crypto regulatory standards obliges crypto exchanges and wallet providers to identify their customers and report suspicious transactions.
The directive requires that all cryptocurrency exchanges have a customer identification procedure. Users must provide their identity information when accessing an exchange platform. That should include name, address, date of birth, and nationality (if applicable).
The second part of this new regulation concerns reporting suspicious activity on exchanges. Any transaction that could be used for money laundering must be reported within 24 hours after it has taken place. Otherwise, the person responsible may face sanctions ranging from fines up to imprisonment.
Customer data is stored in a centralized database, which a blockchain may protect. Only law enforcement agencies have access to this information. Therefore, it can’t – theoretically – be accessed by hackers or other malicious actors.
The potential threat posed by cryptocurrency to national security has been the subject of much discussion. Particularly in light of its use for illicit activities. Many regulators view cryptocurrencies as a potential threat to national security, especially due to their use for terrorist financing and tax evasion purposes.
Furthermore, if criminals can hide money through cryptocurrency transactions, it would be more difficult for law enforcement agencies to track down assets obtained illegally or used for other illegal activities.
Regulation is a good thing, but it can also be used to control people’s behavior. For instance, when the government of India passed a bill that made cryptocurrency transactions illegal in December 2018, many businesses stopped accepting bitcoin as payment for their goods and services. It was a major blow for cryptocurrency adoption in India and other countries.
Regulators need to be careful not to overstep their boundaries when implementing regulations. They risk making criminals’ lives harder, but their rules can introduce many new issues. Cracking down on criminal activity should never affect the [limited] freedom consumers have today.
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