Austrian Financial Market Authority presents interim report on new crypto regulations

One year after the licensing requirement for crypto service providers came into force, the Austrian Financial Market Authority presented an initial inventory.

The Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) published a press release on the current status on January 7th, one year after the mandatory registration for crypto service providers came into force at the beginning of 2020 .

Control of crypto service providers

To date, 40 applications have been made in connection with the tightening of anti-money laundering regulations for crypto exchanges , wallet operators and other crypto service providers, of which 18 have resulted in the issue of a corresponding license.

According to the FMA, the 18 registered companies are “mostly service providers who operate electronic wallets and exchange platforms”. The following comment by FMA board members Helmut Ettl and Eduard Müller makes it clear how important the top financial market supervisors in Austria treat the issue:

“The FMA pursues a clear zero tolerance approach in the area of money laundering and terrorist financing. Aware of the risks associated with virtual currencies, we closed another gap in the previous year and introduced the registration requirement for companies that are active in this area. “

The ongoing supervision of already registered companies will also be a focus of the FMA’s supervision in 2021, the two board members added.

The Bitcoin Up follows the “principle of proportionality”, according to the notification, to which the respective intensity of supervision will be adjusted. In addition to company size, their “business model and the associated risks of being misused for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes” are taken into account. Risk factors, such as the exploitation of anonymity, identifying and mitigating the concealment of the source of funds, would always be taken into account.

Similar legal situation in Germany

In Germany , too, crypto exchanges and custodians have been subject to a license requirement for around a year. Crypto values such as crypto currencies and security tokens were in the list of official financial instruments through an amendment by the end of 2019 been included . As a legal consequence, the existing regulatory provisions for financial instruments also apply to crypto values. On the state of current licensing informed the supervisory authority BaFin recently in December 2020th