The government of Taiwan has ordered that users of cryptocurrency trading websites must reveal their real names, according to Focus Taiwan.
500,000 Yuan Fine
The changes were made by amending laws pertaining to money laundering and financing terrorism. Banks have been empowered to reject anonymous transfers and report them to the Financial Supervisory Commission, the country’s financial watchdog.
Fines have been introduced of 50,000 yuan for non-financial enterprises, and 500,000 for financial institutions.
In a statement, the country’s Ministry of Justice said that national law regarding financial crime had not been amended since 2016, and the changes will align Taiwan more closely with the rest of the world. In addition, the country is due for evaluation by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) in early November.
In banning anonymous transactions, Taiwan is following in the footsteps of the EU Parliament and the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association, another self-regulatory organisation, which took this step in December 2017 and June 2018 respectively.
A Top Priority
In terms of cryptocurrency, Taiwan’s approach has been typified by a lack of regulation, but signs have generally been positive.
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In December 2017, the government passed a law allowing cryptocurrency businesses to sign up for exemption from certain financial laws on the understanding that they may be outdated, and in February, the governor of the country’s central bank, Yang Chin-long, said that it would be looking at blockchain technology for its internal systems.
Taipei was the site of the Asia Blockchain Summit in July 2018. At that event, FSC Chairman Wellington Koo said that the watchdog supports the development of a blockchain technology, and minister Chen Mei-ling, of the National Development Council, said that the government would encourage this. She expressed hope that Taiwan will become an international hub for blockchain technology, and according to Taiwan News, she urged that the republic make digital transformation a top priority.
The Taiwan Crypto Blockchain Self-Regulatory Organization (TCBSRO) was set up by minister Jason Hsu in May, and in June Microsoft Taiwan announced that it would be working on blockchain services in the country, in partnership with two local companies. Details were not shared, but it is thought that it will use Microsoft’s blockchain (Azure) and focus on industries such as finance and entertainment.
However, Hsu told Forbes in March 2018 that he had found it almost impossible to open a bank account for digital currency.
Wellington Koo, FRC Chairman, has said that the country does not intend to ban initial coin offerings in the Chinese style, but there is an inevitable question – has the island been influenced by its neighbour?
Although Taiwan, officially name ‘Republic of China’, is fully self-governing, the People’s Republic next door claims sovereignty over it and refuses diplomatic relations with any country which recognises it as a separate country. Taiwan is thus the largest country not to have a seat at the United Nations. China has threatened military force in the event that Taiwan claims independence, and the impasse lasts to this day.
The Chinese approach to cryptocurrency has been one of strict control.