BaFin License to Be Required for Crypto Firms in Germany

Crypto derivatives would not fall under this suggestion, but we understand they remain subject to ESMA’s current restriction.

Crypto firms operating in Germany have to apply for a license to the nation’s financial watchdog BaFin by end of 2019 as the new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations come into effect.

The rules come within the implementation of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (AMD 5) which provides a broad definition of crypto assets and qualifying it as “financial instruments.” Such a broad definition of financial instruments goes beyond cryptocurrencies to cover many related-assets including security tokens.

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Derivatives referencing cryptoassets would not fall under this suggestion, but we understand they remain subject to ESMA’s current restriction and any future proposals by the BaFin regarding the sale of these instruments to retail investors.

The German regulators want to increase oversight of cryptocurrencies and related assets by integrating EU anti-money-laundering rules into the national laws.

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Published in June 2018, the AMLD5 is a pan-European anti-money laundering directive that member states will have until January 2020 to implement it into their national laws. The legislation is notable because it represents the EU’s first attempt to expressly regulate cryptocurrency activities at EU-level.

Crypto platforms face tighter AML rules

Under AMLD5, crypto exchanges and custodian wallet providers will be brought within the scope of EU anti-money laundering rules for the first time. The law imposes registration and customer due diligence requirements that force operators to disclose their traders’ identities and report suspicious activity.

As it stands, the current shifting regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies across the globe is still very confusing as local regulators are struggling to keep pace with the innovations in the space.

Extending AML regulations to cryptocurrency activities is being considered in several countries around the world such as Australia and the UK, and already tracks the EU’s recent push to regulate Bitcoin.

But the really big challenge is the absence of coherent direction on cryptocurrency regulation as each country has its own approach. Some countries are welcoming, including Japan, while others are cautious, such as the US and Europe. And some nations like China are downright antagonistic.

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