Federal government: Bill provides for strict regulation of German Bitcoin exchanges

A draft law of the Federal Government provides for the obligation to obtain permission to operate Bitcoin exchanges from 2020. Accordingly, both exchanges and custodians, i.e. asset managers for crypto-assets, must obtain approval from BaFin.

The “Amending Directive to the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive” is the name of a draft law that FAZ first reported on. In addition to the regulation of auction houses, it also provides for stricter supervision of crypto exchanges such as bitcoin.de. According to the draft, crypto currencies are to be defined as a new financial instrument from 2020, so that custody services, for example, fall under financial services. If you are a freelancer getting paid in crypto currencies, this will effect you a lot.

The draft is intended to prevent money laundering activities from being concealed by means of BTC & Co. Bitcoin exchanges will be subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act from next year, so they must first obtain permission from the BaFin financial supervisory authority before they can offer their services. Whether existing Exchanges such as bitcoin.de have to obtain such a permission in the aftermath is currently unclear.

Now the government with exaggerated requirements forces the providers of trading platforms for crypto currencies to leave the country and look for another location in the EU,

Frank Sch√§ffler, member of the Bundestag for the FDP, formulates the regulatory intentions, which in his opinion are exaggerated. He calls for uniform regulations within the EU in order to prevent migration to countries with laxer rules. There is no need for a “regulatory patchwork in Europe”.

After court ruling: Federal government announced improvements to Bitcoin regulation

The draft law must be seen against the background of the ruling of the Berlin Court of Appeal, according to which Bitcoin is not a financial instrument within the meaning of the German Banking Act. The Federal Government had promised afterwards to provide in such a way for more legal security – that happened now obviously. Because starting from 2020 Bitcoin is exactly that: Part of the credit system law. So far therefore only the commercial trade with Bitcoin & CO. stood under the permission reservation of the financial supervision. In its ruling of October 2018, the Court of Appeals ruled out general criminal liability: “The Chamber denied criminal liability for the defendant’s actions, as trading with Bitcoin in the form established was not subject to licensing. Bitcoin is not a financial instrument within the meaning of the German Banking Act (KWG).