On 3 January 2019, the Irish Times reported that the Irish Cabinet, which is the organization that exercises executive authority in the country, has approved a new bill aimed to introduce stricter laws to counter money laundering activities in the crypto market.
Once the bill passes, financial firms will have to apply stricter regulations upon new clients and prohibit the opening of anonymous safe deposit boxes. The bill will also give the Garda and Criminal Assets Bureau the right to access bank records when money laundering activities are being investigated.
Charlie Flanagan, the Minister of Justice, commented that serious criminals and terrorists utilises money laundering to keep their organizations operating. If these activities are not stopped, it will cause more lives to be harmed and destroyed as criminal organizations continue to survive. He added that certain measures need be taken in the whole EU to prevent criminals from exploiting the open-borders of the EU. Therefore, he stated that the country “strongly supports the provisions in the fifth EU money laundering directive.”
The directive was introduced back in 9 July 2018, where a new legal framework is set for European financial regulators to control cryptocurrencies and prevent criminal activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing. The scope of the directive includes cryptocurrency wallet providers and crypto-related platforms such as crypto exchanges. The directive, which must be incorporated into the respective laws of the European member states by 20 January 2020, aims to remove the possibility of opening anonymous bank savings account and refine the exchange of information among authorities.
In December 2018, the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum commented on the scenario where digital versions of national currencies are introduced, stating that the addition of national currencies to the blockchain would mean that they could become “integral parts of smart contracts”. The introduction would fully bring out the potential brought by blockchain, allowing parties to make direct transactions in these currencies instead of using them as a “proxy” during the creation of “automated agreements”.