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EU Toughens Crypto AML Rules; ADGM Academy and Singapore University Promote Fintech Literacy

EU Toughens Crypto AML Rules; ADGM Academy and Singapore University Promote Fintech Literacy

One of the many fascinating conversations I enjoyed at FinovateEurope last week was my chat with Trulioo Chief Technology Officer Hal Lonas. Among the topics we discussed was the way evolving regulations were impacting the business of keeping financial services companies compliant with regard to KYC and AML requirements.

This week we learned that the European parliament is moving closer to embracing another measure to tighten rules with regard to financial services – in this case, cryptocurrency transactions. Members of two parliamentary committees this week approved new rules to ban anonymous cryptocurrency transactions as part of an overall European Union-wide anti-money laundering campaign.

The new regulations will require all transfers of cryptocurrencies, regardless of size, to include information on the source and the beneficiary of the assets involved. This information, which will be made available to regulators, would cover transactions from wallet addresses that are held by private users (“unhosted wallets”). The new requirements, however, would not apply to P2P transfers made without an intervening provider.

“Illicit flows in crypto assets move largely undetected across Europe and the world,” Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs co-rapporteur Ernest Urtasun explained. “(This) makes them an ideal instrument for ensuring anonymity.”

The new policy has its critics. Supporters such as Urtasun have pointed to the disclosures of the Panama and Pandora Papers as good reasons for bringing additional scrutiny to cryptocurrency transactions. But critics such as Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer with Coinbase, suggest that the new regulations are based on a false premise: that cryptocurrencies represent a significant vehicle for illegal activity.

“The truth is that digital assets are in generally a markedly inferior way for criminals to hide their illicit financial activity,” Grewal wrote in a blog post earlier this week. “That’s why, according to the best research available, by far the most popular way to hide illicit financial activity remains cash.”

By contrast, Grewal noted “digital assets and the immutable nature of their blockchain technology actually enhances the ability to detect and deter illicit activity.”

The proposed legislation will now be voted on by the full parliament and national ministers.

April is Financial Literacy Month. Be sure to check out our themed coverage of financial literacy both on the Finovate blog in general and here in Finovate Global in specific all month long.

To this end, we found news of the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy (ADGMA) and the National University of Singapore’s Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) to be especially noteworthy.

The goal of the pact is to help bring thought leadership to the fintech community and bolster the fintech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi “and beyond.” There are three main pillars to the agreement: research and publication, technology development, and knowledge dissemination – each of which contributes differently toward the goal of facilitating knowledge exchange across regions and encouraging research collaboration.

What’s interesting about this initiative is the way it supports financial literacy and education among professionals already in the field of financial services. “We, at AIDF, look forward to the close collaborations with ADGMA in research advancements, the education of skilled professionals, and nurturing of FinTech entrepreneurs,” Duan Jin-Chuan, Executive Director of the Asian Institute of Digital Finance at the National University of Singapore, said. “We see these activities as a vital component in pursing a better future for our countries.”

The ADGM Academy, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, was established in 2018 to build expertise, financial education, and literacy in the region. The Academy is part of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial center, and features coursework areas including banking and finance, digital and fintech, and entrepreneurship, as well as national, personal, and professional development.

FinovateEurope ended just a few days ago. Of all our events, our London conference often provides the best showcase for international fintech innovation – especially from developing economies and parts of the world not always considered to be fintech hubs in spite of their economies.

Below is a quick run-down of companies in this category that demoed their latest solutions at FinovateEurope last month.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Photo by ArtHouse Studio