Irish lawmakers will impose an anti money laundering regime on crypto for the first time in April

The Central Bank of Ireland has extended the nation’s anti-money laundering, or AML, and countering the financing of terrorism, or CTF, guidelines to apply to Bitcoin and crypto assets from April.

Starting next month, Ireland’s crypto asset service providers must comply with AML rules and other regulations for the first time. The new rules are a result of the inclusion of the latest European Union AML Directive into Irish law.

Companies that operate with crypto assets, and any firms providing services to them, will be required to complete due diligence checks on their clients and account for the origin and destination of funds.

Ireland’s firms will have to convince the central bank they are maintaining AML and CFT policies to the same standards required of mainstream financial service providers.

Cryptocurrency has historically existed outside of specific Irish laws, allowing traders to speculate on digital assets anonymously.

Josh Hogan, the co-chair of the FinTech & Payments Association of Ireland, welcomed the incoming regulations, stating:

“Ireland has the opportunity to take advantage of its well-earned reputation in both finance and technology to position itself as the leading jurisdiction in which to establish an EU-regulated crypto-services business.” 

“This will ultimately bring real commercial benefits in terms of jobs, business revenues, and taxes,” he added.

Hogan also noted that while some European jurisdictions have already introduced “bespoke” domestic regulations for cryptocurrency, Ireland has positioned itself to “excel at being a ‘fast follower’ in the application of this new area of EU financial services regulation.”

European lawmakers have cited crypto assets as an area of particular regulatory concern in recent years, warning that stablecoins could undermine the monetary sovereignty of nations should they be allowed to flourish unbridled by regulation.

On March 16, The European Securities and Markets Authority warned of the recently increasing popularity of “non-regulated crypto-assets.” The authority attributed the popularity of crypto to “strong investor demand and search for yield amid unprecedented global fiscal and monetary stimulus.”