ECB publishes MLD4 opinion

The Council of the EU has published the Opinion of the ECB on the proposed changes to MLD4. In principle, it says it is important that the EU regulates virtual currencies from an AML/CTF point of view, but it does not understand some of the distinctions the proposal makes between various ways of dealing with virtual currency, and says the EU must be careful not to be seen to be promoting what is in fact a risky activity. It suggests changes to the proposed definition of “virtual currency” to address its concerns. Its other main comment is that, if Member States choose to use their national central bank to set up the suggested centralised data retrieval or automated mechanisms, there should be a clear mechanism to allow for recouping of costs. The Presidency of the Council has since published a compromise proposal for what it now calls MLD5, which, among other things, confirms the original planned implementation date for MLD4 of 26 June 2017, should stand, despite earlier moves to bring it forward to the beginning of 2017.