On Tuesday, De Nederlandsche Bank announced that every crypto company in the country will have to register with the country’s financial regulator in order to continue their operations in a lawful manner.
The deadline is January 1st, and any company that fails to comply with the guidelines will be branded as an unlicensed, and therefore unfit entity to provide financial services to the Dutch population.
The regulation considers the European fifth anti-money laundering guidelines in order to crack down on crypto theft as well as unlawful withdrawal of funds from the country’s borders.
The Netherlands is not the first, and most definitely not the last EU country that will be implementing this change in national policy towards cryptocurrencies. At this moment, there are only a handful of member states remaining that don’t have sophisticated legislation about digital assets.
By 2021 that number could encompass all member states, thus potentially empowering the European Commission to impose a Union-wide regulation for cryptocurrencies, pretty much the same they did with binary options and CFDs.
Is this plausible?
The EU member states are quite in-sync with their domestic and foreign policies, with only a few flukes in recent years regarding immigration. But when it comes to finances, the only dispute right now within the member states is whether or not Russia should remain a viable trade partner. Naturally, this is something being discussed between Eastern and Western member states and has nothing to do with cryptocurrencies.
In the case of blockchain, the national policies are almost unilaterally similar. This gives way to the European Commission to interfere and “combine” all of these separate legislation and come up with one concrete set of guidelines.
As already mentioned, this was the route that the ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority) took when dealing with binary options and CFDs. However, their move against these assets was justified as they had very little to do with the speculative nature of financial market trading.
It’s unlikely that their move against cryptocurrencies is going to be as harsh, but in terms of decentralisation and anonymity of users, crypto companies can pretty much remove that from their description of blockchain services.
The fifth anti-money laundering guidelines are definitely going to take a toll on decentralisation, but, in exchange, will make the industry much more transparent. Overall, the European Union could potentially become a hub for cryptocurrency development, but it’s unlikely to become a hub for cryptocurrency adoption.
Those titles are likely to go to non-member states of the European Union or Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore or Taiwan.