UK Expands Anti-Money Laundering Rules To Cover Crypto

The U.K. is aiming to boost regulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by giving the European Union (EU) expanded anti-money laundering rules that would require traders to say who they are and report any activity that appears to be suspicious.

According to news from Reuters, citing Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to Britain’s Treasury, the British finance ministry told Parliament in a notice back in November but reported Monday (Dec. 4) that the changes “bring virtual currency exchange platforms and custodian wallet providers into Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing regulation.”

The statement noted that as a result, companies would be looked at by the national competent authorities. The move comes as bitcoin has been surging, surpassing $11,000 after starting out the year valued at around $1,000.

The latest cryptocurrency regulation follows recent news that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) gave the green light for CME, the nation’s largest futures exchange, and Cboe Global Markets to launch bitcoin futures — a decision that gives cryptocurrency more legitimacy and is playing a role in its surge in the value.

According to a report in The Financial Times, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said late last week that CME and Cboe Global Markets have agreed to operate under a self-certification, with Cantor Exchange opting to self-certify bitcoin binary options. As a result, the futures exchanges have to be on the lookout for potential manipulation in the market and for big drops or outages.

Because the two exchanges have opted for self-certification, the CFTC will only have a short period of time to review the products. The regulator can reject the product, but their approval isn’t required.

Chris Concannon, president of Cboe, told the Financial Times that the decision to self-certify was made after speaking with the CFTC. Christopher Giancarlo, chairman of the CFTC, said in a statement that bitcoin is unique for the commission, prompting extensive talks in recent months about oversight of bitcoin. He warned that cryptocurrency is largely unregulated and that the CFTC has limited statutory oversight.

“There are a number of factors driving [bitcoin’s] price right now,” said Concannon. “You can’t hedge against bitcoin; you can’t hedge in a fully regulated market.”


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