Austria Announces New Plans to Regulate Cryptocurrencies and ICOs


Austria became the latest country in a growing list of governments planning to regulate cryptocurrencies by using existing rules for trading gold and derivatives. The planned regulation also covers initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Austria, which will be forced to abide by additional rules before being approved for launch.

Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger announced in a statement on Friday, February 23, that the goal of the new regulation is to prevent cryptocurrencies from “facilitating money laundering” and to bring cryptocurrency trading platforms “under the kind of oversight that already exists for financial instruments.”

Under the planned regulation, the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) would require cryptocurrency platforms to identify their users and report any trades over 10,000 euros ($12,300) to the financial intelligence unit.

“Cryptocurrencies are significantly gaining importance in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing,” Loeger said in February 23 statement. “That’s an important aspect for the changes we support. We need more trust and more security.”

ICOs conducted on the territory of Austria will also face more stringent requirements and oversight, similar to that experienced by current Austrian bond and share offerings. One new requirement for ICOs is to submit a “digital prospectus” of their project and receive approval from the FMA before being permitted to launch. Loeger also said that ICOs should submit to rules which criminalize market manipulation, insider trading, and front-running.

Loeger met with Portuguese counterpart Mario Centeno in Lisbon on Friday and reportedly discussed implementing EU-wide cryptocurrency legislation.

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