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Austrian Financial Authority Calls for Crypto to Be Treated Like Securities

Board directors of the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) are proposing tighter cryptocurrency regulations, reports a Dutch news outlet.

The proposals are driven by Klaus Kumpfmüller and Helmut Ettl who are asking for a threshold dependent requirement of 2 million euros for ICO’s. Distributors of cryptocurrencies will come under the current legislation for securities.

Austria has been considering regulating cryptocurrencies for some time along with its European neighbors, most of who are at different stages of applying tighter rules for digital currency in their jurisdictions. This drove Austria to use the model for its existing rules applicable to the trading of gold and derivatives as there is a lack of an active system relating to cryptocurrencies in place. The government’s main concern is curbing the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering,

Ettle complained that there were no existing regulations on cryptocurrency in place, as there were with financial institutions, and he says that this should change, arguing, “For the purchase and sale of foreign currency you need a mini-bank license.”

In the absence of restrictions in Austria concerning cryptocurrency, the FMA submitted around 30 statements regarding suspected legal violations in connection with cryptocurrencies and ICOs to the public prosecutor’s office last year.

Change has been made more difficult due to accusations by the FMA that Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger has plans to strip them of some of their authority for lack of “regulatory responsibility at the ministerial level,” according to the minister.

However, Loger and the FMA do agree on aspects of regulatory control when it comes to cryptocurrencies with FMA board members participating in a Fintech Regulatory Council, earlier proposed by the minister. Such a body is sure to address FMA’s major concerns which center around money laundering concerns.

Austria’s National Bank governing board member Kurt Pribil caused a stir earlier this year when he said, “Bitcoin etc. are by no means currencies, because there is definitely no real value,” adding, “Shares and bonds are also volatile, but there are values behind them – there is only greed and the principle of hope behind bitcoin.”

 

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