Netherlands next to move to regulate cryptocurrencies sphere

Chris Lee

The Netherlands looks set to be the next global nation to make moves towards regulating the cryptocurrencies sphere.

A joint announcement from the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the nation’s central bank, and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AMF) suggests that the country could be about to force companies to register before they move ahead with a crypto project.

Under the new system, companies which deliver crypto storage services, such as wallet companies, will need to make sure they keep a record of what their customers are doing on their platforms so that they can pass on any required information to police or financial regulators.

The types of data which will need to be stored as a result of the changes will include transaction information. It will also apply to exchanges which buy and sell cryptocurrency.

The move comes after the government’s minister for finance, Pete Hoekstra, asked the two organisations to develop plans to regulate the sector.

According to industry sources, the changes are set to come into force right away, meaning that crypto firms will have to act fast in order to ensure that they are not breaking the new laws.

A complicated series of sub-rules will also exist – especially in the realm of testing. In order to get the right license to proceed, each firm will have to go through a testing phase administrated by the DNB central bank.

This process is necessary in order to ensure that the DNB is actually able to manage the information collection and storage procedures.

According to local press in the Netherlands, the current expectation is that about thirty companies will attempt to acquire registration rights.

The moves are going ahead despite a series of assertions that crypto fraud in the Netherlands is not as pressing an issue as it once was.

Despite that, other regulatory bodies in the country have claimed that there are still a high number of suspicious transactions in the crypto sphere, and that the total reaches around 5,000 annually.

Opposition to the move has already been established, though.

According to Richard Kohl, who heads up the Bitcoin Netherlands Foundation, there will be an increased burden on companies which operate in the sphere both in terms of cash and time.

“This is dramatic for young innovative companies”, he said.

“We have long fought for a strong innovation culture in the Netherlands, this is a big step backward.”

He pointed out that there were data privacy concerns for end users, too.

“Banks and financial institutions already need to keep track of customer and transaction information, so there are only more parties who do this, while you may wonder how well our personal information is protected and used, such as how the Chinese government want to be able to follow all transactions of all citizens”, he argued.

The move in the Netherlands comes not long after regulatory bodies in South Africa announced a similar plan. Under this plan, many types of crypto companies will have to register with the government in order to operate.

Chris Lee

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