35 Countries, EU and FATF Agree To Revise Global Cryptocurrency Standards

Thirty-five countries and the European Commission have asked the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in authority for setting global anti-money laundering (AML) policies, to review its standards relating to cryptocurrencies. The organization promised to present its revised AML countermeasures for cryptocurrencies at the upcoming G20 meeting of finance ministers.

At the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting in Paris, held between February 18 and 23, members in lieu of 35 countries and two organizations “admonished the global body to improve the understanding of money laundering risks relating to cryptocurrencies,” Yonhap reported.

Established in 1989, the FATF is an inter-governmental body whose aims are to set standards and promote effective implementation of measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats, its website describes.

The FATF at present consist of 35 member jurisdictions and two regional organizations. Member countries include China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. The two organizations are the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

At their assembly last week, “Member countries were concerned that the anonymity and money laundering risks of cryptocurrency transactions had grown with electronic wallets” and mixing services that hid the identity of their owners, Sedaily described. The Hankyoreh elaborated:

The FATF discussed the need to review its own international standards…along with the revision of the virtual currency guideline created in June 2015, and agreed to report the response to the G20 Finance Ministers’ Meeting in March.

In addition, China was elected as the next vice-chairman at the meeting, in effect from July 2019 to June 2020, the publication noted.

In the course of the meeting, South Korea briefed the FATF on “its responsibilities related to cryptocurrency transactions to tackle money laundering,” Korean officials said on Monday.

The country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement that “South Korea’s anti-money laundering guiding principles for cryptocurrency trading were the first to be drawn up” among the FATF members, the news outlet wrote.

South Korea has barred anonymous trading of cryptocurrencies and introduced the real-name system which went into effect on January 30. The country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) also circulated anti-money laundering guidelines for financial institutions. They are required to properly verify their customers, Yonhap detailed, adding that they are also obliged to closely monitor financial transactions and “conduct enhanced customer due diligence if a virtual currency exchange is suspected of using employee accounts for virtual currency-related financial transactions.”



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