The UK Government has declared its intent to regulate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Treasury Minister, in a statement to Parliament in 2017, stated:
‘The UK Government is currently negotiating amendments to the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive that will bring virtual currency exchange platforms and custodian wallet providers into Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Regulation, which will result in these firms’ activities being overseen by national competent authorities for these areas. The Government supports the intention behind these amendments. We expect these negotiations to conclude at EU level in late 2017/early 2018’.
Timothy Thompson of Kangs Solicitors comments.
What is Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency? | Kangs Cryptocurrency Advisory Solicitors
- In 2008 the idea to produce an exchange mechanism that could be transferred electronically, and was not controlled by a central authority, was formulated by an individual named Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity remains a mystery.
- Bitcoins do not represent traditional currency in the manner of sterling notes and coins but are created by computers all around the world.
- They enable payments to be made electronically, should the participating parties agree.
- Cryptocurrencies have an extremely confusing legal status as to whether it should be treated as a currency or a commodity.
- There is no present way of identifying the ‘person’ behind any particular transaction.
Proposed Regulation | Kangs Financial Crime Solicitors
It is estimated that there may be between three and six million ‘wallet users’ i.e. the manner in which trade is effected, and in the region of two thousand people working full time in the cryptocurrency industry.
The scope for criminal abuse is clear and the UK Government wishes to regulate the activity to prevent financial crime and money laundering.
The London Metropolitan Police recently reported that ‘drug dealers are using cryptocurrency ATM’s to stash their proceeds of crime’.
Labour MP, John Mann, who is a member of the Treasury Committee stated:
‘These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we’ve got to make sure we don’t get left behind that’s particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism or pure theft’.
With new legislation expected to come into force this year, cryptocurrencies will be brought in line with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist financing legislation.
All this being for the purposes of transparency and it is envisaged that:
- traders will be required to reveal their identity
- online platforms will be obliged to carry out due diligence enquiries
How Can We Assist You? | Kangs Money Laundering and Financial Fraud Solicitors
It is clear that at present, with little or no regulation, it is extremely easy to potentially become involved in a money laundering operation.
Our team is led by Hamraj Kang who is one of only two solicitors nationally to be ranked in the legal directory Chambers UK as a ‘Star Individual’ for his work in the field of fraud and money laundering.
Should you require advice in respect of any matters outlined above then please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following: