Regulator FMA Proposes Stricter Crypto and ICO Regulations in Austria


Crypto and ICO regulations in Austria might soon become stricter, thanks to the initiative from the FMA executive board. Klaus Kumpfmüller has proposed a “threshold-dependent” prospectus requirements for the ICOs that is similar to that of securities. 

2 July, AtoZ Markets Klaus Kumpfmüller and Helmut Ettle of the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) have suggested a stricter set of regulations for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country. 

Regulator FMA Proposes Stricter Crypto and ICO Regulations in Austria

As per the article that has been published in one of the Austrian local newspapers, Mr. Kumpfmüller has proposed a “threshold-dependent” prospectus requirements for the ICOs that is similar to that of securities. He has also stated that a “reasonable” threshold would be set at two million euros. Moreover, as per Mr. Kumpfmüller, there should be a concession obligation for the cryptocurrency distributors. He noted that cryptos should be “treated like securities in the future”.

Furthermore, Ettle has compared the suggested regulation to already existing guidelines for financial institutions. He has stated:

“For the purchase and sale of foreign currency, you need a mini-bank license.” 

As of the moment, trading in cryptocurrencies has not been anyhow regulated by the Austrian law. Nevertheless, last year, the FMA has submitted around 30 statements in regards to the suspected legal violations relating to the cryptocurrencies and ICOs to the Austrian prosecutor’s office. 

FMA Disagrees with Finance Minister of Austria

According to the local media, FMA officials have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Finance Minister of Austria, Hartwig Löger. He has proposed to remove some of the rights that FMA holds right now. He has also called for more “regulatory responsibility at the ministerial level”, which the FMA should “reasonably execute.”   

As per the executive board of FMA, some of the issues, such as money laundering, have so far only been superficially regulated by the law. The FMA has stated that further regulatory oversight by the ministry can be considered as a positive development. 

Yet, there are “no serious problems” in relation to the supervision and accounting. Therefore, the transition of competences would most likely be seen as “a political decision.” As for the tightening the regulations for cryptocurrencies, the Finance Minister and the FMA think similarly. 

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