The European Commission is reportedly planning, in collaboration with other authorities, for its financial watchdog group to be able to monitor illegal transactions in cryptocurrency firms.
A group of European Union member states, led by Germany, which includes the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Italy and Luxembourg, are planning to bring crypto firms under the purview of an anti-money laundering group — allegedly the European Commission’s Office to Combat with money laundering was first proposed in July 2021. The group will reportedly begin operations in 2024 and be “fully operational” by 2026.
An EU diplomat is reported to have said that the inclusion of cryptocurrency companies on the agenda of the anti-money laundering watchdog was intended to provide clearer coverage of cryptocurrency transactions in line with EU rules relating to financial services. The news outlet reported that the unnamed official wanted the group to focus on high-risk cross-border transactions carried out by cryptocurrency service providers, as well as banks and other financial institutions. However, the proposed structure has not yet been discussed by EU member states.
“It is very important that the scope of the new EU powers explicitly include crypto assets, given that this is one of the areas most prone to money laundering,” said Luis Garicano, a member of the European Parliament.
La Ley de Servicios Digitales protegerá los consumidores europeos, pero la UE sigue rezagada en las transformación digital. Necesitamos más inversión en innovación y un sistema universitario a la altura de EEUU y Asia. Mi discurso en pleno pic.twitter.com/yZ0bYqcRD6 — Luis Garicano (@lugaricano) January 21, 2022
If adopted, the Anti-Money Laundering Supervisory Authority will be one of the first regulatory authorities empowered to control money laundering in large regions of Europe. A January Chainalysis report showed that individuals laundered $8.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2021, up 25% from 2020.
Related: New EU proposal aims to tighten rules for sending cryptocurrencies
In the United States, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced on February 17 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will form a “specialized cryptocurrency group” called the “Virtual Asset Exploitation Division” to potentially track and confiscate illegally used funds. The creation of the team comes more than four months after the launch of the Department of Justice’s National Anti-Cryptocurrency Team, led by former Deputy Attorney General, Senior Advisor Eun Young Choi.