Cryptocurrency sector faces stricter AML regulations with EU provisional agreement

The European Council and parliament have provisionally agreed to expand parts of the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing law to cover the cryptocurrency market.

The deal will include most of the cryptocurrency industry, meaning companies providing cryptocurrency services must check and confirm details about their customers. They also have to report any activities that seem suspicious. According to the new agreement, these companies must check all transactions that cost €1,000 ($1,090) or more. The temporary law also includes steps to reduce the risks linked to self-hosted wallets.

Lawmakers have set up special checks for crypto asset service providers when they have relationships involving transactions across different countries, requiring them to closely monitor the business connections of wealthy individuals.

The provisional agreement also grants special powers to Financial Intelligence Units, allowing them to obtain important financial and administrative details more quickly and easily, such as tax information, funds, frozen assets connected to financial penalties, and cryptocurrency transfers.

The new provisional AML law was part of a package of legislative proposals first proposed on July 20, 2021, called the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), which will govern crypto markets in all EU member states. It aims to strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. For the new provisional law to come into force, it must be first formally adopted by the European Parliament and each member state.

Related: EU regulators to investigate banks’ crypto exposure

The EU’s financial watchdog is honing its rules to prevent money laundering, including in the world of cryptocurrencies. On Jan. 16, the European Banking Authority, which oversees banks in the EU, amended the rules about preventing money laundering to apply to crypto companies. This means that crypto companies in the EU now have to figure out how likely they are to be involved in financial crimes by scrutinizing their customers and the products they offer, how they deliver those products, and where they are located.

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