Irish crypto firms must comply with money laundering laws for the first time

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Ireland’s crypto firms are subject to regulatory oversight for the first time. Local digital asset companies now adhere to anti-money laundering guidelines set by the European Union or the EU.

The fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) was transposed into Irish law on April 23 by the 2021 Amendment to Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act.

The legislation requires that companies that work with crypto assets and custodial wallet providers – so-called Virtual Asset Service Providers or VASPs – and companies that operate VASPS adhere to the same regulatory standards as established financial companies.

Irish VASPs are now required to register with the Central Bank of Ireland within the next three months and subject their clients to due diligence – including identifying, recording the origin and destination of their crypto assets and reporting suspicious financial activity.

Ireland’s previous lack of regulation allowed traders to invest in crypto assets anonymously.

This may just be the beginning of Irish crypto regulation as all VASPs worldwide serving European countries are expected to comply with the European Union’s Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive by June 3rd. The 6AMLD stipulates that all VASPs at European customers must register with the EU authorities and meet strict reporting requirements.

Unlike 5AMLD, the updated guidelines allow European authorities to punish companies and related legal entities, not just fraudulent employees. VASPs who violate the policy can face hefty fines or closings.