Crypto Regulation Based On Rules For Gold Eyed By Austria’s Finance Minister

News, Regulation | February 26, 2018 By:

Austria’s Ministry of Finance is planning to regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the same framework as gold and derivatives.

In a statement on Friday, finance minister Hartwig Löger said the goal is to prevent bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from facilitating money laundering, a crime that’s no stranger to the precious metals business, and to bring trading platforms under the kind of oversight that already exists for financial instruments.

“Cryptocurrencies are significantly gaining importance in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing,” Loeger said in the statement. “That’s an important aspect for the changes we support. We need more trust and more security.”

The finance minister outlined several measures the government plans to implement, including requiring cryptocurrency market participants to identify all trading parties and to disclose trades of €10,000 ($12,300 USD) or more to the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA).

Löger said that initial coin offerings (ICO) should be based on “digital prospectuses” that would need to be approved by the FMA. He added that regulations against market manipulation and insider trading would be applied to ICOs, just as they already are for share and bond offerings.

In a press release, FMA board members, Helmut Ettl and Klaus Kumpfmüller, said that they “welcome the move by the finance minister to subject cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to regulation and supervision.” They also said that the FMA will contribute to Löger’s proposed FinTech Regulatory Council.

Austria is the latest country pledging to tighten rules on cryptocurrencies. Loeger also suggested that the European Union should implement crypto regulation. This may well come to fruition as European Union regulators will meet this week to discuss the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Last week, European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis announced that he will chair a high level roundtable on cryptocurrencies. He added that the meeting would involve representatives from central banks, as well as the bloc’s market supervisors.