The new FATF presidency would raise regulations but would bring new airs of adoption. The organization aims for a digital transformation against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) inaugurated its president and, along with it, a renewed regulatory push. The new administration, whose leader is Marcus Pleyer, from Germany, aims at a digital transformation to fight the misuse of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in money laundering or terrorist financing (AML/CFT).
He is a senior executive at the German Ministry of Finance who knows Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies first hand, but without ignoring or demonizing them. The fact that he remains the deputy director-general of the ministry is conveying a message about possible new airs of adoption and greater legitimacy.
Pleyer participates in the development of policies related to digital finance and payment methods. In other words, his decisions have allowed Germany to be a country that is friendly to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general.
The weighting that the European country has given to Bitcoin ratifies its recognition from various points of view: as a means of payment, as a haven or, even, as a financial instrument.
For years, Germany has seen the first cryptocurrency as a finance transformation element and a new form of money. Facts have shown this in the past.
In early 2018, the Ministry of Finance published a document that established that the use of Bitcoin as a means of payment, for the purchase of goods or services, was exempt from paying taxes. The legislation also established that exchange operations involving national currencies or vice versa were subject to the payment of contributions.
In July 2019, the country approved the sale of tokens backed by real estate on Ethereum. The bond offering was for USD 280 million and received validation from the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), an entity under the Ministry of Finance.
In March 2020, BaFin declared cryptocurrencies as financial instruments. The entity decided to comply with the 5th Directive of the European Union against Money Laundering (5AMDL).
Conflicting Positions between Germany and China
Now that Pleyer is in command of the FATF, Bitcoin could enter a new phase of recognition and legitimacy among its members, whose positions around the first cryptocurrency vary substantially.
The most emblematic example is that of China, a country that held the FATF presidency with Xiangmin Liu before Pleyer. Liu currently serves as CEO of the Legal Department of the Central Bank of China.
The country still engages in double-talk regarding this issue. On the one hand, it is against cryptocurrencies and their promotion, but it encourages the development of distributed ledger technology (DLT) as a State policy.
China also uses double-talk, since it is developing what would be a digital yuan. In other words, they could be making decisions to capitalize on technology as a state and not as a facilitator to empower their citizens in the Bitcoin era.
The FATF has just left an administration of a more regulatory nature to enter another that shows a potential adoption guideline. The administration that will end in June 2021 could demonstrate it.
By Alexander Salazar