Irish Cabinet to Pass New Crypto Laws to Tackle Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

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The cryptocurrency scene in Ireland will be stricter in days to come if the country adopts new laws to streamline business operations of digital asset entities to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. 

The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Amendment Bill 2020

With the backing of the cabinet, the Irish Justice Minister, Helen McEntee will publish the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Amendment Bill 2020 that also gives effect to the provisions of the fifth EU Money Laundering Directive, reports the Irish Examiner on Aug 10.

If the bill becomes law, new designated bodies like virtual currency and wallet providers will be drawn into the existing legislation. Additional provisions will also stop the country’s regulated banks and financial institutions from creating anonymous safety deposit-boxes.

Digital assets are distributed and decentralized meaning existing laws can’t sufficiently curb their operations. This requires regulators to work closely with policymakers to formulate laws to protect investors as mandated. 

However, as an emerging trend with its complexities, most countries lag and fitting laws are absent. Some have resorted to banning of cryptocurrencies while others are more open, forwarding laws which buttress the growth of the digital asset ecosystem. 

Of note, though, cryptocurrencies though fashioned as electronic money serving as a medium of exchange, a store of value, or a unit of account, are classified as commodities, not legal tender. As such, gains are subject to tax and are a source of revenue for governments.

Laundering Money using Crypto Is a Stupid Idea

Despite the renewed compliance efforts aimed at virtual asset providers, the transparent nature of blockchains underpinning crypto operations makes it hard for agents to launder funds or fund terrorist activities. 

A case in point is the Bitfinex hack of 2016 where nefarious agents are still struggling to cash out their hoard without risking arrests. All funds in that heist are still being tracked and conversions are weak points due to Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules of which regulated exchanges are supposed to adhere.

This means, unlike opaque fiat which is physical, laundering money using crypto is a stupid idea due to permanent trails they leave behind. 

Crypto Regulations in other Countries

Late July, Liquid was forced to delist 29 digital assets in a bid to become a licensed operator in Singapore. 

As a financial hub and a crypto supportive country, Singapore has been enhancing its regulations in line with the standard set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) whose rules came to effect early this year. A consultation paper was published by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on July 21.

As BTCManager reported, Canadian Bitcoin businesses are now fully regulated and are listed as Money Service entities.

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