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The Netherlands moves to regulate cryptocurrencies

The Dutch central bank has unveiled measures to regulate providers of cryptocurrency services in an attempt to crack down on money laundering.

The bank is forcing providers to sign up to a register if they want to continue operating legally in the country. It’s expected to start regulating the sector from 10 January 2020.

“In concrete terms, firms offering services for the exchange between cryptos and regular money, and crypto wallet providers, must register with De Nederlandsche Bank,” it said in a statement reported by Reuters.

The move comes after Dutch ministers revealed in July that they had devised a series of measures to make it harder for criminals to launder money. The government has estimated that €16bn (£14.5bn) is laundered through the Netherlands each year.

The latest initiative will make the country one of the first in the world to start regulating cryptocurrencies. Other central banks have been less eager to lay down new rules governing the technology.

In 2018 the Bank of England stated that crypto-assets do not “currently pose a material risk to UK financial stability”. The bank’s Financial Policy Committee said at the time: “The FPC will act to ensure the core of the UK financial system remains resilient if linkages between crypto-assets and systemically important financial institutions or markets were to grow significantly.

“In the event that one or more crypto-assets were likely to become widely used for payments, or as an asset intended to store value, the FPC would require current financial stability standards to be applied to relevant payments and exchanges.”