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UK’s Travel Rule comes into effect, could halt certain crypto transfers

UK's Travel Rule comes into effect, could halt certain crypto transfers


Cryptoasset businesses in the United Kingdom could now begin withholding certain crypto transfers to comply with the new Travel Rule for crypto that came into effect on Sept. 1.

The rules targeting virtual asset service providers were first introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority on Aug. 17, and see to it that VASPs based in the U.K. will “collect, verify and share information” relating to crypto-asset transfers.

If an inbound payment is received from a person or entity from an overseas jurisdiction that hasn’t implemented the Travel Rule, the VASP must make a “risk-based assessment” as to “whether to make the cryptoassets available to the beneficiary.”

The same rule would also apply to Brits looking to send payments outside of the U.K.

The Travel Rule was created by the UN agency Financial Action Task Force in June 2019. The U.K. passed legislation to begin enforcing the Travel Rule in July 2022.

It attempts to prevent anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) activities carried out on-chain.

Other countries that have adopted the Travel Rule include the US, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands and Estonia, according to Sygna.io.

Related: Crypto ads face stricter rules, referral bonus ban by UK FCA

On June 23, the FATF called out member states for failing to sufficiently implement the rule after a survey revealed more than half of them have failed to take any action towards implementing the rule.

A March 2022 survey by FATF found only 29 of 98 jurisdictions at the time passed the requirements needed as part of the travel rules and a small subset of these jurisdictions had started enforcement.

Ian Andrews, the chief marketing officer of blockchain forensics platform Chanalysis explained in April 2022 that coordinating the exchange of information between VASPs cross-borders will be a “pretty hard problem” to solve — at least at the onset.

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