Austria Planning New Regulations for Cryptocurrency, ICOs

Austria is drawing up cryptocurrency regulations, using as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

Feb 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:36 a.m. UTC

Austria has joined the list of countries planning to regulate cryptocurrencies and will use as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

The government's central concern is curbing the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering, Bloomberg reports. Likewise, it wishes to extend oversight measures for traditional financial products to crypto assets.

"Cryptocurrencies are significantly gaining importance in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing," Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger was quoted as saying. As a result, he went on to say, "We need more trust and security."

Loeger outlined several measures the government plans to implement, including requiring cryptocurrency market participants to identify all trading parties and to disclose trades of €10,000 ($12,300) or more to the government's financial intelligence unit.

The regulation will also cover initial coin offerings (ICOs), Loeger said. The government will apply existing rules regarding market manipulation, insider trading and front-running, and organizers will be required to submit "digital prospectuses" to the country's Financial Market Authority (FMA).

The finance minister's statements come on the heels of a report that the Austrian government is seeking suspects in an alleged bitcoin scam by a company called Optioment, which may have resulted in investor losses of up to $115 million.

Loeger also suggested that the European Union should implement cryptocurrency regulation. This may well come to fruition as the European Commission announced Thursday that top central bank and market supervision figures in addition to unidentified "market players" will meet next week to discuss the matter.

Austrian parliament image via Shutterstock

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