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Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

The Dutch Central Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has announced its plans to impose regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in order to counter money laundering and fundraising for terrorist activities.

In future, registering exchanges will need to ensure that any “unusual transactions” are reported and that exchanges’ KYC rules are tightened.

The new legislation was not completely unexpected by the Dutch cryptocurrency community. The central bank has long been unreceptive to the idea of digital currency, maintaining back in November of 2017 that Bitcoin had no real worth. According to DNB regional director Petra Hielksma at that time, “If something wants to be treated as money, you have to be able to spend, save and calculate with it.”

The Netherlands has been quick to find numerous worthy use cases for DLT, particularly in projects that support local communities, health, and civic pride. The larger community has been mainly positive towards cryptocurrencies too, despite the country’s Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra proposing a ban on cryptocurrency advertising and trying to douse enthusiasm.

Arnhem, near the German border, has become the country’s crypto haven, where Bitcoin can be used to buy anything from bread to beer using Bitcoin and other major currencies. Despite the DNB’s concerns about cryptocurrency, approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands have some cryptocurrency investment.

However, the DNB points to the more than USD 88 million reportedly laundered over 46 cryptocurrency exchanges around the globe during the past two years, as enough evidence that the government needs to take firmer measures with exchanges with regard to money laundering and other illegal activities.

In terms of expressing a social conscience though, the nation continues to demonstrate its progressive uses for blockchain by forming partnerships with the World Bank, the UN, and the EU Forum. Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology could be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable.

 

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Holland in Forefront of Promoting Blockchain Economy With Government Support

All the talk in Europe these days are about crypto-havens Malta and Switzerland as they continually break down borders with blockchain and emerging technologies and the subject of a flurry of positive government legislation, but Holland rarely gets a mention.

The Netherlands is a leader in advancing blockchain in Europe and often slips under the radar, but the Dutch government is no slouch when it comes to promoting the interests of companies adopting new technologies, especially when such projects benefit the entire community. Holland has been noted by others as a country with a social conscience, and legislation over the years has illustrated the degree to which its population is a beneficiary of the desire shown by the government to support its society as a whole.

With partners such as the World Bank, UN, and the EU Forum, the Netherland’s aims are progressive and express its social conscience. Emanuele Francioni, Tech-Lead of non-profit blockchain-based Dusk Foundation, explains where this government led social conscience is taking DLT:

“The Netherlands hosts one of the most passionate blockchain scenes in the world,” he suggests, adding that, “Most of the early experimentation by the government was done with multinationals through consortia, often in the permissioned [private] space…we are starting to see the first permissionless [public] initiatives getting more public traction, which is a very exciting area that should get a lot more attention.”

The Dutch government announced earlier this year that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology can be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable. Encouraged by the government’s actions, John Jansen of cryptocurrency exchange Deribit suggests:

“It’s amazing that the Dutch government created a special blockchain unit with the goal of not just regulating the new technology but actively looking for opportunities,” adding that this shows “ a positive attitude toward this technological development which benefits the blockchain ecosystem in the Netherlands.”

Jansen is further impressed by the stance of the Dutch population when it comes to trading and holding cryptocurrencies, commenting:

“Furthermore, crypto is catching on with the Dutch people as well… It was recently reported that in October of 2017, an estimated 135,000 Dutch people had invested in cryptocurrencies. But by February of this year, that number rose to 580,000. That’s 430% growth in five months. We have every reason to expect that number to continue to rise.”

The Dutch Central Bank may be wary, but even the Dutch royal family is in on the act with Plamen Nedyalkov, CEO of Zoom noting that Prince Constantijn van Oranje has been attending blockchain conferences across the lowlands, and has also become the chairman of StartUpFest Europe, which works with blockchain startups.

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