Business 21 January 2019Derek Tonin
Netherlands to put an end to anonymous crypto trades
Anonymous buying and selling of cryptocurrencies in the Netherlands is about to come to an end. As reported by Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS), a Dutch news source, an official recommendation has been made to introduce a licensing system that would regulate the space.
The Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra, requested input on cryptocurrencies from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the central bank of the country, early last year. Now that they have delivered their conclusions, Heokstra has made it clear that he will follow the advice immediately.
According to the DNB, as risky speculation has decreased with the down market, the need to protect against risky speculation can take pause for the moment. Instead, the focus will be on money laundering and terrorist activities, and thus the focus on Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. As per the report, unusual crypto transactions in the Netherlands can reach up to 5,000 a year.
These new regulations, should Hoekstra push through with them, would require companies operating in the crypto space to prove to the DNB that they are capable of collecting user data before they will be granted a license to continue operations.
A board member of the Bitcoin Nederland Foundation, Richard Kohl, opposes these new regulations, feeling they will hurt the growth of the industry. He’s quoted as saying, “This is dramatic for young innovative companies. We have long fought for a strong innovation culture in the Netherlands, this is a big step backward.” He goes on to fear that if personal information is kept, it won’t be long before China knows everything about the transactions of Dutch citizens.
Cryptocurrencies have proven quite popular in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is home to 12 crypto ATMs, the most of any European city. With this popularity has come regular scrutiny from the government. Dutch regulators have been wary of the risks and legality of crypto investments for nearly a year now, and the finance minister has been pushing for greater international regulations and enforcement in the crypto industry.
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