Italy poised to regulate cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies have become the daily fodder for governments around the world. Some countries want to ban them, some want to embrace them while others simply don’t care about them. Italy falls into the middle category, and recently held public hearings on the subject.
Specifically, government officials wanted the public to share ideas and suggestions regarding possible crypto regulation in the country before moving forward with any legislative decisions.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) launched the hearings to investigate and understand the phenomenon of digital currencies. The ministry published a legal document on February 2 outlining moves the MEF’s Treasury Department will be making to curb money laundering. After the publication, anyone has two weeks to offer their opinions as well as possible amendments to the proposal.
Italy passed a resolution in May 2017 that requires cryptocurrency purveyors, such as exchanges, to adhere to policies for the prevention of money laundering. The latest update provides additional responsibilities, including the requirement that cryptocurrency-based businesses routinely report their activities to the MEF.
As has been seen in legislation considered by other countries like the United States, the wording in the Italian document contains a reference to cryptocurrency being used as a “means of exchange for the purchase of goods and services” and that it is not tied to any legal tender. This is designed to help non-experienced individuals to better understand what cryptocurrency is, and how it works. If things go well, however, this phrase could become obsolete in the near future.
The reporting requirements cover commercial businesses that accept crypto payments, as well. The MEF is currently conducting a survey to determine how many businesses fall into this category so that it can later provide closer oversight on the operations. A business startup getting into cryptocurrency will have to register with the “Organismo degli Agenti e dei Mediatori,”the Organization of Portal Agents and Brokers, to legally conduct business in the country.
A preliminary evaluation of the technical details of the business registry has already been completed by regulators with the Department of the Treasury. Once the new decree is accepted and enters into force, the practice will be launched three months later. The MEF points out that the new policies fall in line with the regulations created by the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering arm.
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