Operators of virtual currency platforms in Austria must register with FMA

Maria Nikolova

Applications for registration may be submitted to the regulator from October 1, 2019.

Providers of virtual currency services will soon be subject to supervision by the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA), the regulator announces today.

From January 10, 2020, digital currencies will be included in the European regime for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. Providers of financial services that issue and sell virtual currencies, providers of virtual currency transfers, platforms for exchanging and trading virtual currencies (irrespective of whether virtual currencies are exchanged between one another or against fiat currencies or vice versa), as well as electronic wallet providers are among those that will have to register with the competent supervisory authority in advance. From January 10, 2020, these providers – as is already the case for credit institutions and financial institutions – will also have to comply with the due diligence and reporting obligations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Applications for registration may be submitted to the FMA from October 1, 2019.

The new rules form part of the 5th Anti Money Laundering Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/843), which has been transposed in Austria by the Financial Markets Anti Money Laundering Act (FM-GwG; Finanzmarkt-Geldwäschegesetz). More information on the matter can be found on this dedicated page.

FMA’s Executive Directors Helmut Ettl and Klaus Kumpfmüller commented:

“Incorporating virtual currencies into the regime for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing on the one hand is a significant step in the struggle against money laundering,while on the other hand making a large contribution towards creating fair conditions for competition between providers of analogue financial services as well as providers of digital financial services”.

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