The European Union (EU) has adopted updated rules to make cryptocurrency transfers traceable in a bid to prevent them being used for criminal purposes.
The EU’s move is designed to ensure greater transparency so that criminals find it more difficult to use cryptocurrencies to circumvent anti-money laundering rules.
The Council of the EU has revised the rules on information accompanying the transfers of funds by extending the scope of them so they now cover transfers of crypto assets. This will ensure financial transparency regarding exchanges of crypto assets and give the EU a framework that complies with the most demanding international standards regarding such exchanges. It is a move that is expected to make it harder for criminals to use crypto for money laundering, as well as for circumvention of sanctions or the financing of terrorism.
The new rules compel crypto asset service providers to collect and make accessible certain information about the sender and beneficiary of the crypto asset transfers they facilitate, regardless of the amount of crypto assets involved. The EU believes this will ensure the traceability of crypto asset transfers, making it easier to identify possible suspicious transactions and block them.
This is part of a package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules, originally presented by the Commission on 20 July 2021. The package also includes a proposal to create a new EU authority to fight money laundering.
The Council agreed its position on the transfer of funds proposal on 1 December 2021. Informal negotiations involving representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission began in April 2022, leading to a provisional agreement two months later. The formal adoption of the rules is the final step in the legislative process.