Austrian financial authority calls for stricter regulation of ICOs and cryptocurrencies
Directors of the Austrian Securities and Markets Authority (FMA), Klaus Kumpfmüller and Helmut Ettl, have proposed stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reports today (June 29).
According to an article Published in the Austrian newspaper Die Presse on June 29, Kumpfmüller proposed a “threshold-dependent” prospectus requirement for ICOs similar to that for securities. The FMA executive committee has set a “reasonable” threshold of two million euros. Additionally, according to Kumpfmüller, there should be a concession requirement for cryptocurrency distributors and that these “will be treated as securities in the future.”
Ettle compared the proposed regulations to existing restrictions on financial institutions, “To buy and sell foreign currency you need a mini-bank license.” So far, cryptocurrency trading does not have a similar regulation under Austrian law. Last year, the FMA submitted some 30 statements to the prosecution regarding alleged violations of the law relating to cryptocurrencies and ICOs.
According to Die Presse, the members of the board of directors of the FMA have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Austrian Minister of Finance, Hartwig Löger, who wants to deprive the agency of part of his authority. In regular disputes between the FMA and the supervisory authority (OePR), Löger calls for more “regulatory accountability at ministerial level”, which the FMA should then “reasonably execute”.
According to the FMA board, issues such as money laundering have so far only been superficially regulated by law, and further oversight by the ministry should be seen as a positive development. However, there are “no serious problems” with regard to control and accounting, so the transfer of powers would probably be regarded as “a political decision”. Ettl said it was crucial that the FMA retain “integrated and independent oversight.”
However, when it comes to tightening cryptocurrency regulations, the FMA and the Minister of Finance are not that far apart. When Löger called for stricter rules in the crypto industry in February and early regulation at the European level, both Ettl and Kumpfmüller endorsed and offered to participate in a “FinTech Regulatory Council” proposed by Löger.