Albania wants to be Europe’s digital currencies hub with new law

Albania is seeking to become the next European blockchain hub with a new set of laws that legitimize the use of digital currencies. The country’s parliament approved the new laws recently, paving the way for the industry to be formally recognized and regulated.

The bill was presented by Finance and Economy Minister Anila Denaj to the parliamentary committee on economy. It looked at financial markets based on distributed ledger technology, according to a report by the state news agency ATA.

The draft is aimed at making the best use of DLT, the minister stated. It also delves into how the country can address a range of potential risks. These include the use of digital currencies in Ponzi schemes and market manipulation.

She said, “The draft law aims to regulate the conditions for licensing, exercising the activity of operators and stock exchanges and supervising them, as well as preventing abusive practices in the market, where severe fines are stipulated for anyone who violates the provisions of the law.”

The law also recognizes the risk of money laundering through the use of digital currencies. To combat this, it requires any virtual asset service provider (VASP) to put in place a risk-protected system to monitor transactions for suspicious transactions. The licensees will also have to adhere to the existing guidelines on the prevention of money laundering, including employing staff member with the necessary experience in the field.

Albania is the third country in Europe to have a comprehensive law regulating the digital currency industry. The other two are Malta and France, with the former being nicknamed the “blockchain island” for being a pioneer in the field. Malta’s friendly approach has seen many global blockchain and digital currency companies set up operations in the island.

France, on the other hand, has become the first major economy in Europe to regulate its digital currency industry. Its efforts seem to be paying off, with the Banque de France getting the necessary support to develop its CBDC. The regulator announced recently that it had completed a transaction using the CBDC with a subsidiary of Société Générale, France’s third-largest bank.

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