Posted on Categories anti-money laundering, blockchain

Will crypto and blockchain face a new wave of AML regulations?

Anti-money laundering (AML) is the first area of Polish law where the parliament has adopted regulations directly related to cryptocurrencies and some other types of crypto-assets. We have devoted a lot of articles to this issue on the blog.

The direction of changes in the Polish law concerning AML results from the development of a global approach to this issue. Mostly this is due to the work of the Financial Action Task Force. FATF is an intergovernmental organisation authorised to create and assist in the implementation and monitoring of anti-money laundering standards, financing of terrorism and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The EU and Polish legislative work on revision of the AML regulations is based on the models presented in FATF publications from 2014 and 2015.

This does not mean that FATF has stopped further work on issues related to cryptocurrencies and other crypto-assets. On the contrary, encouraged at the beginning of this year by the G20, FATF has returned to intensive analysis of these issues in the context of the global AML system. The latest FATF publication, FATF Report to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from July 2018, is very informative in this respect.

According to the report, FATF plans to improve the regulation and supervision of virtual currencies and crypto-assets as one of its priorities during the US presidency of the organisation (July 2018 – June 2019). According to FATF, those future actions are intended to respond to the increasing use of such assets in money laundering and terrorist financing. Although we do not know the details—they are likely to be released within the next year—we know that there will be a review of the AML standards issued by FATF in the context of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets.

In September, a FATF meeting related to the application of current standards to cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets is due to take place. The specific proposals to clarify the application of the FATF standards in this context are to be considered in October. Potentially, a revision of the FATF recommendations taking full account of the technical aspects of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets may be prepared.

In practice, FATF has cleared the way for adoption of further, possibly more far-reaching anti-money laundering provisions in the area of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets. Admittedly, the adoption of new positions by FATF (especially if they are to take the form of a change in the recommendations), and then the development and implementation of new regulations by individual countries, including Poland, will happen over a longer term. Companies dealing with cryptocurrencies, and more broadly blockchain, should carefully observe further developments.

Jacek Czarnecki