Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Netherlands May Block Foreign Crypto Firms Under Anti-Money Laundering Laws

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Cryptocurrency entities based outside of the Netherlands may get the boot under new crypto regulations.

Following up a report by CoinDesk on the DNB’s recent registry mandate for cryptocurrency companies, DNB spokesperson Tobias Oudejans said the current legislation before the Dutch House of Representatives will not only force domestic companies to register with the central bank but that foreign entities will also not be allowed to conduct services within the country.

Foreign entities include all firms registered outside the of European Economic Zone, a block constituting most European countries.

When asked if foreign crypto companies will have to create offices within the Netherlands or Europe to gain access to the market, Oudejans gave no comment.

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Oudejans said that the legislation, which addresses the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5), is still under consideration. The central bank has already asked all Dutch crypto companies to register before the January 10 cut off date mandated by AMLD 5, however.

The legislation and central bank registration is based on anti-money laundering concerns. Like all financial firms, Oudejans said, crypto firms must register with the Dutch government.

Related: FATF to Strengthen Control Over Crypto Exchanges to Prevent Money Laundering

As a new industry, the regulations are very standard even if they seem draconian, he said.

Local crypto companies happy with regulation

A lack of clear regulation in the nascent Netherlands crypto market is an issue many Dutch crypto service providers are happy is being addressed, says one local crypto firm.

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Crypto2Cash founder PJ Datema told CoinDesk bad actors won’t be able to live up to the DNB standards, helping mature the market with their exit.

“It’s a really nice step. I’m not saying they are embracing crypto. [But] we are finally moving forward after a long period of silence,” Datema said. “It’s good they are taking action. If we want the market to mature and the participants to evolve… you want anti-money laundering (AML) and proper know your customer (KYC),” he continued.

How international–or even other European–firms will operate under the crypto laws being drafted has yet to be understood. Datema said the regulation is good for local companies and, from his interpretation, has the potential to block out competitors in Germany, France, and elsewhere.

For now, questions abound such as how the final legislation will look, how the DNB will enforce it, and how international players can operate within the Netherlands.

“With one parliament in Brussel, you would assume you would role out one set of rules for Europe,” Datema concluded.

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