Last months FATF consultation on virtual asset providers had my particular interest as we are facing an unexplainable access condition in the Netherlands, imposed by the central bank (DNB) our current supervisor on VASPs:

Now I was wondering if it could be that last months FATF-consultation holds the key to this discussion? Are these strict add-on rules and…


Here is a brief post, to alert professionals in the field to the fact that Facebook Inc has in the Netherlands been registered as an exempt institution out of scope of the payments directive based on the article 3k/3l in the PSD2:

The filing occured in february 2020 but it is not the only entry in our registers. The same company holds an incoming EU-license, originating from Ireland, to do payments business as a cross-border service. So there is a generic incoming payments license (see the blog here), the discussion on Libra/Calibra (see here) but also a local exemption.

What…


Photo by Yang Jing on Unsplash

Quickly after the announcement of Libra, I, stated that Libra could not be viewed as e-money. Now has come the time to explain my earlier analysis (of June 2019) as to the regulatory qualification of Libra.

Libra is a privately issued and distributed digital and virtual ‘currency’, that is intended to function as a means of payment. It is not a true currency because its actual composition/counter value is a basket of fiat-currencies and financial instruments. It is not e-money as the Libra is not ‘monetary value’. The digital value qualifies as a financial instrument (a mini-participation in an open…


Status update on AMLD5 Implementation in the Netherlands

The 10th of January, 2020 has long been on the mind of many people working in the Anti-Money Laundering field. It is the date when European Member States should have implemented the 5th EU Anti Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5). This requires crypto-players to apply anti-money laundering procedures and get a registration.

Right now the proposal is in the Senate and the earliest date of implementation will be end of February. A further delay is possible however, as the crypto industry points out that some extra NL-designed, local, rules are added to the…


The European 5th Anti Money Laundering Directive ((EU) 2018/843) explicitly provides for a registration mechanism for crypto-service providers (those who offer fiat-crypto exchange services or provide hosted crypto wallets). While the Directive started out with the obligation of a license or registration regime for cryptoplayers, the possibility of a license regime has been explicitly been struck out in the final text, for considerations of proportionality.

Transposition into Dutch law: simple at first, but supervisory add-ons later

The Dutch Ministry of Finance started transposing the directive and consulted a licensing regime with the market in December 2018. As the actual rules…


First of all apologies to many of you: I promised a blog on the reason why Libra would not qualify as e-money, but please accept my rain check for that. Right now, it is the day after constitution day for Libra. An event coloured by the absence of many payment industry players, that indeed felt the pressure of competition law too big to be able to join.

So three weeks ago, the Swiss association was set up, and we got a glimpse of more information on the organisation. I will discuss the ramifications and conclusion that we can draw later…


This week the world has witnessed the announcement by Facebook of Calibra, a digital currency wallet and company. The wallet holds Libra, a virtual currency, with the idea to be used globally. Its distribution and use will be further promoted, organised and executed via an association of partners, called the Libra-association. The information pack ( download here) also outlines more technical details on programming languages, future plans and committment to regulatory compliance.

Immediately thereafter, a storm of analysis emerged in order to understand the initiative. Quite some politicians and regulators are eager to quickly respond and that is completely understandable.


Virtual currencies are on the radar of regulators for quite some time. Yet it is clear that they still struggle with definitions (which always happens when new technologies arise). The FATF is a key example now that they are seeking to harmonise international guidelines for applying FATF-rules to the crypto-world.

In this post I will look at some of the issues at stake and explain why the FATF-exercise requires a lot more time and thinking before the FATF (or EU) move forward. Do note that this is a longread, more geared to specialists in the field, than the general public.

Simon Lelieveldt

Dutch banking, payment and digital money / blockchain expert - http://www.simonl.org Also: tours & talks on financial history http://finhist.simonl.org

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