With the ongoing bull run in the cryptocurrency market, governments around the world have been scrambling to regulate the market: China has continued to tighten its regulations on cryptocurrency and a bipartisan Bill has recently been drafted in the US Senate that includes tougher requirements for cryptocurrency brokers and investors to report transactions over $10,000 to the IRS. So it is unsurprising that the UK Government has announced similar plans.
Last week, HM Treasury unveiled its new proposal (by way of a proposed amendment to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017) to require virtual-asset transfers of above £1,000 to be accompanied by detailed personal information of both the transferor and beneficiary. According to HM Treasury, the rationale for this latest move is to ensure that the UK’s anti-money laundering regime complies with the recommendations of the global Financial Action Task Force, and to bring the treatment of cryptocurrency in line with the current rules that apply to ordinary wire transfers under the Funds Transfer Regulations. The consultation runs until 14 October.
Whilst this is a step in the right direction to combat crypto-related money laundering activities, the regulation is intended to apply to crypto-asset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers who carry on business in the UK only. Individuals with unhosted wallets are currently not within the scope of the proposed regulation and it remains to be seen how effective this amendment will be in meeting its well-intentioned objectives. One thing is for certain however: this market will only become more regulated and reporting requirements are likely to increase worldwide.