All that Glitters is not Gold: The Regulation of Virtual Currencies in the New EU V Anti-Money Laundering Directive
Non tutto quello che luccica è oro: la regolazione delle monete virtuali nella V direttiva contro il riciclaggio
The purpose of this article is to provide a first comment to the new provisions on virtual currencies included in the European Union Directive 2018/843, amending Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, known as Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The Directive requires States to include, among the obliged entities to respect anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing requirements, such as ‘knowyour-customer’, the ‘providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies.’ To the big dilemma: ‘to regulate or not to regulate’ virtual currencies, including Bitcoins, the EU answered that yes, we must regulate. However, what is the meaning of regulating Bitcoins? After presenting what VC are and which challenges they pose to international law, I will argue that regulation is fundamental in order to avoid the exploitation of these currencies for the purposes of money laundering and terrorism financing, but that, at the same time, regulation as it was conceived at EU level might pose numerous challenges because it only concerns the moment in which the ‘real’ world meets the ‘virtual’ one, and is applicable only to the obliged entities that fall under the scope of the EU legal instrument.
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