Ireland Approves Anti-Money Laundering Bill to Help Regulate Cryptocurrencies

29 January 2019

With the Irish government being the latest European Union to pass an anti-money laundering bill to help regulate digital currencies, is this a sign of what’s to come in 2019?

According to the Irish Times, the government of Ireland has approved a bill designed to stunt criminals from using digital currency to fund money laundering and terrorism.

This move follows the European Union’s (EU) fifth anti-money laundering (AML) directive which came into force on 9th July 2018 – setting a new legal framework for financial watchdogs around Europe to regulate all digital currencies to put a stop to cyber-criminal activity.

In response of Ireland’s bill, the country’s Minister of Justice, Charlie Flanagan said: “The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process.”

“Criminals seek to exploit the EU’s open borders and EU-wide measures are vital for that reason. Ireland strongly supports the provisions in the fifth EU money laundering directive”.

If the bill passes, it would mean that banks and financial institutions dealing with cryptocurrency will need to carry out stricter due diligence before doing business, like clarifying personal details.

It will also restrict credit and financial institutions from creating anonymous safe deposit boxes. Furthermore, the bill would allow the Garda and the Criminal Assets Bureau to access important bank records to aid at money laundering investigations.

Anecdotally, Ireland’s new bill also focuses on preventing white-collar crimes like Ponzi schemes, fraud, insider trading and other cyber crimes.

“[The Government is building] a very robust legal framework and further developing vital expertise within An Garda Siochana. My message to criminals is clear: those engaging in corruption or money laundering in Ireland will not get away with their crimes,” the Minister of Justice added.

How will this impact Ireland as a crypto nation?

Whether you’re in favour of more stringent regulations surrounding digital currency or not, Ireland still remains a very crypto-friendly nation.

In fact, there are a vast amount of big exchanges like Coinbase and CoinZoom who operate their European businesses from Dublin.

In 2018, Ireland was one of 22 European countries in favour of establishing a European Blockchain Partnership for the up and coming technology.

As a result, this led to the creation of the Blockchain Association of Ireland being formed to help position itself as “a dominant force on the world stage.”

Look ahead

Ireland’s anti-money laundering bill is just the start of a series of changes in motion.

With all EU member states required to complete transposition of the AMLD before the end of 2019, this year is shaping up to be a big one for cryptocurrency.

In December 2018, the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum made a compelling case in favour of introducing digital versions of national currencies.

While crypto-friendly fintech company, Revolut, got an EU banking license through the Bank of Lithuania. This means users in France, Poland, Germany and the United Kingdom should receive a “true current account and a non-prepaid debit card”, plus additional cover on their deposits for sums up to $113,500 under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

If you need some guidance on starting a new crypto-business, feel free to get in touch with our expert team here at Blockchain ConsultUs.

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