Daily Management Review

The EU Is Planning To Tighten Regulations On Cryptocurrency Transfers


On Thursday, European Union lawmakers are expected to support stronger safeguards for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments, the latest hint that regulators are tightening their grip on the free-wheeling industry.
Two European Parliament committees have hammered out cross-party compromises that will be voted on. The laws, according to cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc, will usher in a surveillance regime that will impede innovation.
The $2.1 trillion crypto market is still regulated unevenly around the world. Concerns that bitcoin and its rivals could disrupt financial stability and be used for criminal purposes have hastened governments' efforts to rein in the industry.
Crypto companies, including as exchanges, would be required to gather, keep, and submit information on persons involved in transfers under a proposal first put up by the EU's executive European Commission last year.
According to Ernest Urtasun, a Spanish Green Party legislator who is helping to shepherd the bill through parliament, this would make it easier to identify and report suspicious transactions, freeze digital assets, and discourage high-risk transactions.
The Commission had suggested applying the regulation to transfers of 1,000 euros ($1,116) or more, but this 'de minimis' restriction has been eliminated as part of the cross-party agreement, making all transfers subject to the rule.
The removal of the threshold, according to Urtasun, aligns the draught law with criteria established by the worldwide Financial Action Task Force, which establishes standards for preventing money laundering. As a result of these restrictions, crypto companies are required to gather and share transaction data.
A low-value transfer exception is not acceptable, as crypto users might circumvent the restrictions by establishing an almost infinite number of transactions, according to Urtasun, who also cited the modest amounts involved in some criminal transfers.
New requirements on crypto wallets owned by people rather than exchanges, as well as the formation of an EU list of high-risk or non-compliant cryptoasset service providers, have also been agreed upon by the MPs' committees.
In a blog post on Monday, Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal stated that traditional cash, not cryptocurrency, was by far the most popular means to mask financial crime.
EU nations have a joint say in the final version of the law with parliament, and countries have already agreed that there should be no de minimis.