Ireland Passes New Anti-Money Laundering Bill Aimed at Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Assets

The European Union was envisaged to promote trade and peace, after the Second World War. In the six decades since its inception, the idea has come a long way. While there are still many issues within the member nations, most notably Britain exiting the union, it has mostly held together rather well.

This has been primarily due to consensus in directives that are then implemented into laws by the respective partner nations. In a decision taken on the 3rd of January, the government of Ireland has passed a bill in line with the directives from Brussels, in relation to financial matters.

Greater Power To Access Individuals Information

As per reports from the Irish Times, the Cabinet has approved a bill that legislates the EU Anti-Money Laundering [AML] Directive. The decree, which the European Parliament had passed in July last year, sets up a framework for financial watchdogs of the member nation, so as to better regulate digital currencies. The intention is to mainly diminish the possibility of money laundering and financing terrorism.

The EU members have until January next year to incorporate these orders into their countries laws. The said amendments look to expand the capabilities and range of crypto platforms, exchanges and wallet providers. It will also make anonymous bank accounts near impossible.

Finally, the mechanism to share information amongst member states will be improved as well.

EU directive widely supported in Ireland

Along with that, the amendment made by the Irish government to their Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2019 also strengthens it further, particularly in matters of “virtual currencies for terrorist financing and the use of prepaid cards.”

Charlie Flanagan, Minister of Justice, discussed the serious implications of money laundering and its links to serious criminals and terrorists. This has various implications, including destroying many innocent lives.

“Criminals seek to exploit the EU’s open borders and EU-wide measures are vital for that reason. Ireland strongly supports the provisions in the fifth EU money laundering directive, ‘’ he stated.

It is expected the government will be able to pass the bill. If and when that happens, more privacy of the people staying in the EU will be sacrificed at the altar of security.

Financial institutions will need to be stricter with the details of new clients, anonymous deposit boxes shall be defunct and the Criminal Assets Bureau will have full access to bank records in case of any investigations.

National Cryptocurrencies

There have been numerous countries exploring the possibilities offered by blockchain. Some like India has decided its not for them, while others like Venezuela are seriously considering switching over to it.

Late last year, the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum also added their thoughts about this matter, stating:

“Putting digital versions of national currencies on the blockchain means they could then become integral parts of smart contracts. That would unlock much of the potential innovation of blockchain by allowing parties to create automated agreements, including direct transactions in these currencies, instead of having to use a cryptocurrency as a proxy.”

The past couple of months has seen a notable increase in activities surrounding crypto assets, most notably in the FinTech sector.

With European powerhouses such as Germany and France becoming more open to blockchain enabled services and financial institutions, it seems like an interesting time for the EU as well as the crypto industry.

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