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Czech Republic Gets Tougher on Crypto Than Europe

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August 8, 2019 | 

576 Views | 

Darryn Pollock | 

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In taking a direction with its cryptocurrency regulations, the Czech Republic looks to be going on the side of caution with stricter regulations than are prescribed from the European Union. The European bloc has an  Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) regulatory regime that is well established, but the Czechs will be upping this.

According to a report from local newspaper Hospodářské Noviny, the way in which the Czech Republic will implement European Union (EU)’s Fifth AML Directive (AMLD5) will be stricter than expected.

The importance of effective AML laws are paramount to governments and regulators, and it appears that the Czechs hope to be at the forefront of this aspect of cryptocurrency regulations. In doing so it could also send a message to those trying to use crypto for nefarious reasons that they will be heavily punished if caught.

Big fines

According to the local report, the regulators are looking at making the fines for cryptocurrency firms that  fail to register their operations with the national Trade Licensing Office as much as half a million Euros. 

In regards to the European Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which came into force in July 2018, this goes above and beyond what is required from its members in policing money laundering. 

What is interesting with this EU directive is that its scope was extended to include exchanges as well as wallets within the cryptocurrency space. The concern was that many were affecting anonymous payment through these cryptocurrency services and thus the Directive called for greater transparency from the exchanges, and thus put pressure on them to up their AML and KYC (Know Your Customer).

A growing global regulatory framework

In recent months there has been an increase in the application of crypto-specific regulations across the world. The EU has started setting up its own framework for its member nations to build upon, and as the Czech example shows, some are more zealous than others.

This is not the first time a European nation has taken the baton and run with it in terms of applying stricter than necessary regulations. Cyprus, in February,  proposed to bring several additional areas of crypto-related activity under their own regulations, which are notably not included in the provisions of AMLD5.

Further abroad, the US is also in the throws of deciding how strict or relaxed they will be when it comes to regulating the blockchain and cryptocurrency space with many concerned this could be a tipping point. 

With a number of hearings taking place in the Senate based around cryptocurrencies, especially after the launch of Libra, it looks as if the regulators in the US are mulling over the advantages against the financial risks of these decentralized assets. 

Cryptocurrency voices, such as Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse, have come out and asked for the Senate not to lump all cryptocurrency projects in the same boat and to view them on their merit for the space, as well as for the advancement of the US. 

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