KyberSwap flees Europe as AML regulations kick in

The European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) has posed an existential threat to many shady cryptocurrency businesses for a while now. Now that those regulations are starting to kick in, so is the reality that many in the industry need to change their ways or run for cover, and non-custodial exchange KyberSwap has chosen the latter.

In a letter sent to its registered users on January 16, KyberSwap announced it would transition from its current Malta location to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) on January 24, The Block reports. To explain the move, they noted “the new regulations would put too high a barrier for the majority of traders, both – regulatory and cost-wise.”

The second largest non-custodial exchange will no longer be operated by Kyber Network International Limited, based in Malta, but instead by the sister company KYRD International Limited in the BVI. The people operating the exchange will stay the same, they noted.

The 5MLD sets up a few basic and common sense regulations for the European crypto industry; the same regulations banks and money services have had to abide by for years. The high barrier KyberSwap cites could be the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) or Know your Customer (KYC) policies that are now starting to kick in. They could also be restrictions on what qualifies as a virtual currency, as many of the 70+ tokens offered at KyberSwap may be restricted by the new regulations.

As we explained in 2019, these same regulations pose a huge threat to many exchanges currently offering their services to Europe, including Binance and Kraken. Experts note that if regulators are perceived to be violating the new regulations, which kicked in on January 10, 2020, they could be assigned a supervisor from the Financial Conduct Authority. That level of scrutiny could be unwelcome by companies who are perfectly fine with anonymous actors making them money through potential criminality.

But there’s a very good reason Europe pursued 5MLD: The wild west days of the cryptocurrency industry need to come to an end. As we’ve seen from the leadership of Bitcoin SV (BSV), traceability is important to the financial and enterprise world, and only criminal interests crave for the shadows of anonymity.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.