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FATF seeks to improve understanding of cryptocurrency risks

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, is going to bolster its efforts to understand anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

The second FATF Plenary meeting was held in Paris 21-23 February 2018. ‘Improving the understanding of virtual currencies risks’ was one of the main issues discussed during the meeting, which also focused on regtech and fintech initiatives, and strengthening FATF’s institutional basis, among others.

The Plenary discussed a FATF’s report to the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. The report included an update on the agency’s ongoing work to ensure a coherent and consistent approach to deal with the AML/CFT risks and opportunities related to FinTech, RegTech and virtual currencies.

“FATF considered a report on the AML/CFT risks associated with virtual currencies and the regulatory measures being taken in different countries. The improved understanding of the misuse and risk of virtual currencies will lead to FATF undertaking additional work streams,” according to a memo published last week.

In June 2015, the FATF published “Guidance For A Risk-Based Approach: Virtual Currencies”. The guidance urged countries to apply a risk-based approach (RBA) to ensure that measures to prevent or mitigate ML/TF risks are commensurate with the risks identified. It also called for national cooperation and coordination, including setting up of inter-agency working groups with respect to AML/CTF policies, including in the virtual currency sector.

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