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Irish Government Approves AML Bill Affecting Cryptocurrency

The executive organ of the government of Ireland, the Cabinet has approved a bill that would give effect to the European Union Fifth AML Directive, as per the report of the Irish Times on Jan. 3.

It is to be noted that the directive came into force on July 9, 2018. The directive sets a new legal framework for European financial watchdogs to regulate digital currencies in order to protect against terrorist financing and money laundering.

Distinctively, the directive will broaden the scope to cryptocurrency and digital asset platforms and wallet providers. Furthermore, it will end the anonymity of bank and savings accounts. Also, it will improve information exchange among authorities. EU member states need to incorporate the directive into their relevant national laws by Jan. 20, 2020.

The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 would toughen the existing legislation, in addition to recognizing the EU directive.

Charlie Flanagan, Minister of Justice said that the reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps terrorists and serious criminals to function, destroying numerous lives in the process. Criminals take advantage of EU’s open borders. Hence, EU-wide measures are vital for that reason. Flanagan further added that Ireland sturdily supports the provisions in the fifth EU money laundering directive.

The financial institutions will be required to perform stricter due diligence with respect to new clients if the bill passes. Moreover, they would be proscribed from opening unnamed safe deposit boxes. Furthermore, the bill will purportedly allow the Garda and the Criminal Assets Bureau to access bank records in the course of money laundering investigations.

The European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum, last month, made a case for digital versions of national currencies on a blockchain. The forum stated that putting digital versions of national currencies on the blockchain means they could then become fundamental parts of smart contracts. That would unbolt a great deal of the likely innovation of blockchain by allowing parties to generate automated agreements, including direct transactions in these currencies, instead of having to use a cryptocurrency as a proxy.

Furthermore, crypto-friendly fintech startup Revolut obtained an EU banking license through the Bank of Lithuania, in the month of December last year. Revolut’s users in Poland, United Kingdom, Germany, and France are expected to get a true current account and a non-prepaid debit card, as per the company. Moreover, users’ deposits will also be covered up to €100,000 under the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

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