Ukraine’s financial watchdog intends to track crypto transactions exceeding $1,200, according to the head of the country’s Ministry of Finance, Oksana Makarova.
Makarova discussed crypto in an interview with Ukrainian news outlet MC Today, commenting on a law signed last month by the country’s president, Volodymir Zelensky, which strengthens Ukraine's anti-money laundering practices in accordance with the latest Financial Action Task Force recommendations around cryptocurrency transactions.
For the first time, Ukrainian anti-money laundering law includes crypto as an asset to be monitored, among others. The threshold for triggering the scrutiny process is 30,000 Urkainian hryvnia (UAH), or US$1,200.
“If exchanges, exchangers, banks or other companies make payments in cryptocurrencies worth more than UAH 30,000 in equivalent, they must verify such transaction and collect detailed customer information,” Makarova said in the interview. “The customer must provide comprehensive information about the origin and destination of their virtual assets.”
If any such operation seems suspicious to the payment service provider, the firm is required to report the transaction to the financial watchdog, the State Financial Monitoring Service (SCFM). The agency also has the capacity to block suspicious transactions and even confiscate cryptocurrencies originating from illicit transactions, Makarova said.
“SCFM has access to an analytical product that allows investigations into the origins of crypto-assets and their uses,” Makarova said. “It is impossible to stop operations now, but it is possible to block crypto wallets and remove illegally obtained crypto assets. This can be done by accessing the crypto's private keys as a result of complex investigations.”
Cryptocurrency as an asset class is yet to be defined by the Ukrainian law. Makarova said a working group with participation from several national agencies is expected to come up with a new regulation for virtual assets in Ukraine “over the next four months.” A bill suggesting a 5 percent tax on crypto revenue was already introduced to the Ukrainian parliament in November.
There is no official statistics of how much crypto is currently circulating in Ukraine, but Makarova believes the volume is “quite high,” though most money laundering in the country is still conducted with cash.
“I think that our criminals and corrupt officials are quite conservative and still keep the funds mostly in cash,” Makarova said. “Therefore, in the legalization of cryptocurrencies, I see opportunities for the development of this industry in our country, not a threat.”
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