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Germany: Court Holds That Bitcoin Trading Does Not Require a Banking License

(Oct. 19, 2018) On September 29, 2018, the Higher Regional Court of Berlin (Kammergericht Berlin, KG Berlin) held that trading in Bitcoin does not require a banking license because Bitcoin is not a financial instrument, in particular, not a unit of account, within the meaning of the German Banking Act. The defendant was therefore not […]

Liechtenstein: Government Adopts Consultation Report on Draft Blockchain Act

(Sept. 20, 2018) On August 28, 2018, the government of Liechtenstein adopted a consultation report on a proposed Blockchain Act. The goal of the Blockchain Act is to take advantage of the potential of blockchain technology, create legal certainty for market participants, protect users of blockchain technology from potential abuse, and reduce potential reputation risks […]

Malta: Government Passes Three Laws to Encourage Blockchain Technology

(Aug. 31, 2018) On July 4, 2018, the Maltese government enacted three laws whose goal is to make Malta a haven for projects that rely on blockchain and other distributed ledger technology (DLT). The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act), Innovative Technology Arrangements and Services Act (ITAS Act), and Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA […]

European Union: New Rules for Money Market Funds

(Aug. 31, 2018) On July 21, 2018, new rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient against financial market difficulties, reduce the risk of runs, and limit cross-border contagion began applying to newly issued MMFs in the European Union (EU). Existing MMFs must show compliance by January 21, 2019. MMFs are mutual funds that […]

China: Central Bank Warns Businesses Not to Refuse Cash

(July 26, 2018) On July 13, 2018, China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued a circular stating that businesses and individuals must not refuse or discriminate against cash payments. (Zhongguo Renmin Yinhang Gonggao [2018] Di 10 Hao [PBOC Circular [2018] No. 10] (July 13, 2018), PBOC website; Amanda Lee, As China Goes […]

European Union: 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive Enters into Force

(July 16, 2018) On July 9, 2018, the amendment of the European Union (EU) Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5th AMLD) entered into force. The AMLD obligates certain entities to fulfill customer due diligence requirements when they conduct business transactions and have in place policies and procedures to detect, prevent, and report money laundering and terrorist financing. […]

Switzerland: Swiss Voters Reject Popular Initiative on Sovereign Money

(June 12, 2018) On June 10, 2018, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 75.7% to 24.3% the “Sovereign Money Initiative.” Voter turnout was 33.8%. (Vorlage Nr. 618. Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse. Volksinitiative vom 01.12.2015 “Für krisensicheres Geld: Geldschöpfung allein durch die Nationalbank! (Vollgeld-Initiative)” [Proposal No. 618, Preliminary Official Results: Popular Initiative of Dec. 1, 2015 “For Crisis-Proof Money: […]

Brazil: Penal Code Amended to Stop Attacks on ATM Machines

(May 2, 2018) In an effort to curb attacks on ATM machines throughout Brazil, President Michel Temer on April 23, 2015, promulgated Law No. 13,654 (Lei No. 13.654, de 23 de Abril de 2018, Presidency of the Republic of Brazil website), which amends the Penal Code (CÓDIGO PENAL, Decreto-Lei No. 2.848, de 7 de Dezembro […]

Iran: IMF Evaluates Iran’s Legislative and Institutional Efforts to Combat Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

(Apr. 13, 2018) In its March 2018 report assessing the economic situation in Iran, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that Iran had made progress in reforming its policies on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and was taking steps to improve the country’s connections to the international banking and trade system. (IMF, […]

Mexico: Financial Technology Law Enacted

(Mar. 28, 2018) Mexico’s Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies, enacted in March 2018, includes a chapter on operations with “virtual assets,” commonly known as cryptocurrencies. (Ley para Regular las Instituciones de Tecnología Financiera [Law to Regulate Financial Technology Companies] arts. 30–34, DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACIÓN [D.O.F], Mar. 9, 2018, Mexican House of Representatives website.) […]