The Financial Action Task Force Concerned Over Lack of Implementation of Virtual Asset Rules

The Financial Action Task Force Concerned Over Lack of Implementation of Virtual Asset Rules

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently expressed concerns over the slow pace of implementation of rules regulating the virtual digital assets sector. In a report issued by the FATF, it was highlighted that many nations have failed to fully adopt the rules laid down by the organization, which could potentially create opportunities for criminal activities to thrive. The FATF has analyzed data over the past 12 months to assess the level of adherence to these crypto-related rules by different countries.

The FATF Plenary agreed on a roadmap in February 2023 to strengthen the implementation of the FATF Standards on virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs). However, many countries have yet to fully implement the FATF’s requirements on virtual assets and VASPs to prevent them from being misused for illicit financial activities. This delay in deployment of regulations is a cause of concern for the FATF, as it leaves the door open for criminals to exploit the loopholes in the system.

In an effort to combat money laundering and terror financing, the FATF has unofficially mandated countries to adhere to its anti-money laundering (AML) regulations to avoid being ‘grey listed’. Among the rules issued by the FATF, countries are required to only permit licensed firms to engage in crypto asset transactions. Additionally, nations are instructed to collect detailed information about both the senders and receivers of crypto assets, especially in cases of suspicious transactions.

The FATF has emphasized that virtual assets are inherently international and borderless, and the failure to regulate VASPs in one jurisdiction can have serious global implications. This underlines the importance of all nations fully implementing the FATF’s regulations on virtual assets and VASPs in a timely manner. The organization has compiled a list of nations that have either fulfilled or failed to fulfill the criteria laid out by the FATF with regards to crypto activities, including risk assessments, licensing regimes, and supervisory inspections of VASPs.

India has been highlighted as a country that seems to have successfully deployed all the rules stipulated by the FATF. However, there are still several nations such as Australia, Finland, Greece, Malaysia, and Portugal that are in the process of implementing the FATF rules. Ashish Singhal, the Co-founder at India’s CoinSwitch crypto exchange, has praised India’s proactive approach in conducting a risk assessment of VASPs and implementing the Travel Rule. Singhal pointed out that India’s Mutual Evaluation was conducted last year, and there is a possibility of a plenary discussion scheduled for June this year to further address these issues.

The concerns raised by the FATF regarding the lack of implementation of regulations governing virtual assets and VASPs are valid, considering the potential risks associated with the misuse of crypto assets for illicit activities. It is imperative for all nations to expedite the deployment of these rules to ensure the integrity and security of the global financial system. Failure to do so could result in serious consequences at both national and international levels.


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