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FATF and Cryptocurrencies: Global Anti-Money Laundering Standards

Jun 29, 2024
FATF and Cryptocurrencies: Global Anti-Money Laundering Standards

FATF (Financial Action Task Force) is an intergovernmental organization that sets global standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Established in 1989 at the G7 summit, the group developed 40 recommendations, including the creation of financial intelligence units.


FATF and Cryptocurrencies: Global Standards for Combating Money Laundering - news

What is FATF?

FATF is an intergovernmental body that develops and promotes strategies to combat money laundering at national and international levels. It creates the political will to reform national legislation and regulatory systems to counteract money laundering. FATF monitors the success of member countries in implementing anti-money laundering measures, studies methods and countermeasures, and promotes global measures to combat this crime. FATF collaborates with other international bodies combating money laundering.

FATF has no clearly defined constitution or unlimited existence term. Every five years, it reviews its tasks. Since its creation in 1989, FATF continues its work as needed.

FATF: History and Main Tasks

In response to the growing problem of money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established in 1989 at the G7 meeting in Paris. Recognizing the threat to the banking system and financial institutions, the leaders of the G7 countries and the President of the European Commission created FATF, including G7 member countries, the European Commission, and eight other countries.

FATF was tasked with studying money laundering methods and trends, analyzing measures already taken at national and international levels, and identifying measures needed to combat money laundering. In April 1990, less than a year after its creation, FATF prepared a report with forty recommendations, providing broad foundations for anti-money laundering efforts.

Currently, FATF's activities aim to achieve the following main goals:

Category Description
Disseminating information on anti-money laundering measures worldwide FATF promotes the creation of a global anti-money laundering network by expanding the number of member countries, creating regional bodies, and cooperating with international organizations.
Monitoring the implementation of the forty recommendations in member countries The process includes annual self-assessments and detailed mutual evaluations.
Analyzing money laundering trends and countermeasures (typology studies) FATF constantly tracks changes in money laundering methods, gathering data on new trends and adapting recommendations to current realities.

FATF also updated its forty recommendations to reflect changes in the money laundering field and actively encourages other countries to adopt anti-money laundering measures.

FATF’s Key Principles in Combating Money Laundering

The forty FATF recommendations represent a general set of measures to combat money laundering, designed for universal application. They include a comprehensive range of countermeasures covering criminal legislation, enforcement measures, the financial system, and its regulatory framework, as well as international cooperation.

Developed in 1990, the recommendations were revised in 1996 to account for new money laundering trends and potential threats. FATF also created numerous interpretations to clarify the application of the recommendations.

Key obligations include:

  • Criminalizing money laundering and adopting laws on the confiscation of criminal proceeds.
  • Requiring financial institutions to identify clients and maintain records.
  • Mandating the reporting of suspicious transactions and implementing internal control measures.
  • Ensuring adequate systems of control and oversight for financial institutions.
  • Requiring international agreements and national laws for effective cooperation.

These recommendations play a crucial role in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

FATF and Cryptocurrencies: Global Standards for Combating Money Laundering - news

FATF and Cryptocurrencies: Perspective and Regulation

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) pays special attention to cryptocurrencies due to their potential use in illegal activities. Cryptocurrencies provide anonymity and fast cross-border transactions, which can be used for money laundering and terrorist financing.

Key FATF Actions:

  1. Developing guidelines:

    • In June 2019, FATF issued recommendations for regulating virtual assets and virtual asset service providers (VASPs). These recommendations require member countries to implement measures for client identification, transaction monitoring, and reporting suspicious activities.
  2. International cooperation:

    • FATF actively collaborates with international organizations and states to harmonize approaches to cryptocurrency regulation. This includes information exchange and best practices sharing.
  3. Risk assessment and monitoring:

    • FATF conducts regular risk assessments related to cryptocurrencies and monitors the implementation of recommendations by member countries. This helps identify and address system vulnerabilities.

Key Requirements for Member Countries:

  • Client Identification (KYC): Financial institutions and cryptocurrency service providers must identify their clients to prevent the anonymous use of cryptocurrencies.

    Transaction Monitoring: Constant monitoring of transactions helps identify suspicious activities and prevent illegal operations.

    Reporting Suspicious Activities: Competent authorities must be notified of any suspicious transactions.

These measures are aimed at ensuring the security and transparency of cryptocurrency operations, preventing their use for criminal purposes. FATF also emphasizes the need for international cooperation and information exchange for effective control over cryptocurrencies.

Thus, FATF seeks to balance the development of innovative financial technologies with the necessity of maintaining global financial stability and security.


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