As more countries prepare to adopt the suggestions outlined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for the digital currency space, Canada has decided it doesn’t want to wait until the last minute. While the FATF’s guidance is not necessarily required to be implemented, G20 countries are not prepared to make the group angry and are always willing to comply. 2020 is going to be the year that the digital asset realm makes huge improvements in its governance and Canada is the latest to begin enforcing the FATF’s rules. The country’s financial watchdog has announced that it will implement the FATF changes ahead of schedule.
The FATF has made a number of recommendations over the years and updated its guidance last year, with this June being the definitive date for countries to adopt the policies. Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) has announced that it is going to begin to take a closer look at companies operating in the digital currency space and will now start to hold them accountable for not adhering to the new rules.
FINTRAC explains, “A major priority in the near term will be the implementation of new regulations arising from recent legislative change which effectively updated and broadened the parameters of FINTRAC’s compliance mandate, including new requirements for reporting on virtual currency transactions and extending registration obligations to foreign money services businesses and businesses dealing in virtual currencies. This activity will entail substantial national consultations with stakeholders and a rigorous implementation phase including capacity building in emerging functional areas such as virtual currencies. The expected outcome is an enhanced AML/ATF [anti-money-laundering/anti-terrorism funding] Regime.”
This follows the FATF’s guidance that all digital currency transactions should be logged and reported, much in the same way that financial transactions in fiat are managed currently. Additionally, companies that have over CAD$10,000 ($6,906) in digital currency activity must register as a money services business and have to record personal data, such as name, address and phone number, of both the sender and receiver involved in a digital currency transaction if over $1,000 ($690). If a transaction is to be carried out for more than $10,000, then even more data is required to be collected.
There are undoubtedly a number of companies operating in the Bitcoin space that feel that they will be able to bypass the regulatory controls once they’re officially put into place. However, as multiple reports have already shown, regulators and law enforcement authorities are very capable of following the digital currency trails and, one way or another, everyone in the space will ultimately be held accountable. The US, the UK, Germany and many more are on board with the new directives, and the Wild West days once enjoyed by some in the digital currency community are coming to an end.
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