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EU: New AML Directive Could Allow Banks to Play with Bitcoin

December 3, 2019
Ross Peili


EU: New AML Directive Could Allow Banks to Play with Bitcoin

Europe might be officially offering cryptocurrency and other digital assets directly through their local banking network as soon as 2020, according to German officials.

While it is too early to get excited ‘the crypto-way’, and I mean, just hold on to your fiat before you spend everything on Bitcoin, some bright news hit the Eurozone, and more specifically the German parliament, where a legal framework was proposed as an addition to the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) suggesting that local banks should not rely on third-party custodians and instead should be able to buy, hold, and offer Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their respective customers first-hand.

It should be no surprise that the edit was proposed by German financiers, who were previously desperately looking for a digital Euro as soon as they heard about Facebook’s Libra and China’s DC/EP in an attempt to stay ahead of the broader game.

No one wants to play with Germany, so they’ll play alone

The country that represents the heart of Europe, and one of the strongest industrial giants on the globe, Germany was trying to convince other country members of the EU to jump on the crypto-train as soon as 2015, but apparently, none would listen.

First, Deutsche Bank released several reports between 2017-18 explaining why blockchain-based economies are the future of global finance, emphasizing on the unique approach of the Berlin-based non-profit IOTA Foundation.

Then Deutsche Bundesbank, essentially Germany’s central bank, revealed that they’ve been working on a central bank digital currency run on Bundes-Chain, an in-house blockchain platform supervised by the German government for some time now, and only made the announcement when Facebook’s Libra was flooding major global financial outlets earlier this year.

Following up, Banken Verband, a German association of over 200 banks released a report calling for a programmable digital euro, making clear that it is an urgent matter that should be addressed by European countries.

Read More: An Overview of Facebook’s Libra as Seen by International Regulators

Yet, here we are again, where despite the infinite attempts of the Germans to shake the round-sat EU financiers off their fancy armchairs, Europe seems pretty untouched by Libra, DC/EP or other national-level digital currencies.

If you don’t want to work on it, then we’ll play with what’s already on the table.

It appears so that Germany is tired of kicking the ball to a solid wall, and takes rapid action starting internally. Being an EU member, Germany proposed the addition itself, voted for it, and now it plans to deploy the new AMLD rule as soon as next year.

Basically, if the EU is not keen on working on a pan-European digital currency, and creating a single-state backed stablecoin while in the EU is not really an option, the sausages, beer, and automobile producer is now into ‘old-fashioned’ Bitcoin the legal way.

With increasing negative interest rates in the country, it seems only natural to adopt Bitcoin on a national-scale, instead of ditching more money into “R&D” that might not even work.

Statistical data suggest that German netizens are well educated when it comes to cryptocurrencies, while most of them are indirectly forced to buy and sell these digital assets using third-party brokers, some times not even of German origin, therefore enabling a state-wire to provide tax-payers with their favorite crypto would make absolute sense for the country’s financial heads.

Read More: China: Private Companies Preferred over Crypto Firms to Deliver Blockchain says PBoC Head


We can’t be sure whether this directive will be adopted by the broader Eurozone or if it’s just a patch tailored for the German needs, but it definitely spices things up as we move into 2020, where everything seems so misty that some say Bitcoin will hit the moon, and others are assured it will crash to nonsense this year.

As for the crypto-community, key figures such as Binance’s Changpeng Zhao, and Coingecko’s Bobby Ong, are pretty excited about Germany’s move, saying that this is nothing more than expected and other banks are losing money the longer it takes them to adopt Bitcoin the same way the adopted gold, stocks, insurances, and all that fancy stuff that still have their good days and their bad, the same way Bitcoin does.