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Netherlands imposes fine on Cryptocom over registration breaches

TL;DR

  • The Netherlands’ central bank fined Crypto.com $3 million for operating without registration for over two years.
  • Crypto.com provided crypto services from May 2020 to November 2022 without adhering to Dutch Anti-Money Laundering laws.
  • The lack of registration allowed Crypto.com to avoid supervisory fees and compliance costs but prevented them from reporting unusual transactions.

The Netherlands’ central powerhouse, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), has slapped Crypto.com with a huge fine. Why? Well, for the audacious stunt of bypassing registration requirements for a what is reportedly a long time. I’m talking about a solid two years plus of “forgetting” to register while offering crypto services. The $3 million (€2.85 million) fine was handed down in October, yet for reasons I don’t understand, this financial slap was kept under wraps until recently.

The Heart of the Matter

Back on May 21, 2020, DNB laid down the law, making it clear that all crypto service providers needed to register under the Dutch Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act. You’d think that would be a clear enough signal, right? Wrong.

Our beloved Crypto.com, or Foris DAX MT to be official, decided to take a little detour from compliance, extending their unregistered vacation until at least November 8, 2022, as was shared by the DNB. The base fine for such shenanigans starts at $2.1 million, but given the gravity and brazenness of this act, the powers that be cranked up the financial penalty.

Crypto.com was thriving in the Netherlands, gaining a “huge number” of customers and sidestepping the not-so-fun parts of running a crypto service, like paying supervisory fees and the headache of compliance costs. Yet, the dark side of this moon was their inability to report any suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit-Netherlands, a critical failure in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

Registration Saga and Rivalry

Despite the fines and the hiccups, Crypto.com managed to get their act together and secured their registration in the Netherlands by July 2023. This registration was a bit ironic though, considering that DNB previously stated Dutch users were in the clear to use the exchange, even though it was skating on thin regulatory ice.

Things get interesting when you compare Crypto.com’s situation to Binance’s. The latter faced a slightly bigger $3.6 million fine for similar registration dodges, leading to it waving the white flag and exiting the Dutch market after a failed registration attempt. Meanwhile, Crypto.com’s response to their financial spanking? A shrug and a statement about this being a “past and rectified incident,” assuring that it’s business as usual going forward.

But last month, Kraken, another crypto exchange giant, snagged its fourth European license, proudly waving its VASP registration from DNB. The VASP license isn’t like other licenses. It’s the most important part of a set of rules called MiCA (Markets in Crypto-Assets) that are meant to keep businesses in the European Union that deal in digital assets under tight control.

Kraken’s move not only throws a bit of shade at Crypto.com’s previous missteps but also highlights the competitive, although regulated, playground that the Netherlands is becoming for crypto services. Kraken’s expansion into the Dutch market, armed with the necessary regulatory blessings, could very well be a game-changer. Right now, approximately 20% of Dutch citizens are reported to own crypto.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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