Dutch Central Bank to Crypto Firms: Register in 2 Weeks or Shut Down

Dutch crypto companies must register with the Netherlands’ central bank by May 18 or cease operations immediately as the country enforces new anti-money laundering regulations required by the European Union.

May 5, 2020 at 6:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:36 a.m. UTC

Dutch crypto companies must register with the Netherlands’ central bank by May 18 or cease operations immediately, the monetary authority said Monday.

De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) is moving to quickly enforce enhanced Dutch anti-money laundering (AML) laws, which passed the Dutch Parliament last month to comply with the European Union’s AML directives and standards set by the Financial Action Task Force.  

DNB’s speedy regulatory flex – the Dutch Upper House passed its “amended” Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD4) laws on April 21 –  threatens firms that convert crypto and fiat or offer crypto custody services with immediate cease-and-desist orders if they do not register by the deadline. Crypto-to-crypto companies do not need to register. 

The deadline comes as Dutch crypto firms level heavy criticism at a law they call burdensome to the industry at large. In their lengthy deliberations over implementing the EU's AMLD5, firms say the DNB and Ministry of Finance put the squeeze on small-time companies, even forcing some to close their doors.

It was not immediately clear why DNB and Parliament cited the EU’s amended “fourth anti-money laundering directive” in their respective statements and laws instead of the more recent directive, AMLD5. A DNB representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Firms that fail to register “must therefore cease your existing activities” on May 18 and face fines and “enforcement action,” DNB wrote in its press release. The release noted a draft application was sufficient to fulfill the registration needs for the mid-May date.

The call to action appears to formalize a similar registration notice sent in September 2019, months after the EU released its fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive but before the Dutch Parliament agreed on its version. AMLD5 gave EU member states until Jan. 10 to implement the directive. 

But the Dutch Parliament did not strengthen its AML laws until April 21. That truancy, plus the central bank’s previous call for registrations, may have prompted DNB to set its unusually tight two week notice now.


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