December 5, 2022

Italy’s Registry For Crypto Firms Has 73 Unvetted Companies

While Italy is trying to increase regulatory oversight surrounding crypto, it may be doing less than the bare minimum. Officials report that the country is approving firms’ applications to begin or resume operations without conducting proper assessments.

Recently, highly-popular crypto companies, such as Crypto.com, Binance, and Coinbase, stated that they secured compliance to resume operations in Italy. Consequently, the firms were listed in a registry. The aim of the said registry is to ensure that crypto firms comply with Italy’s anti-money laundering laws.

Italy’s OAM Adds Names of 73 Crypto Companies to Registry

The country’s supervisory body, titled the Organismo Agenti e Mediatori, keeps a list of financial agents such as money changers and credit mediators operating in Italy. Since the list started in May, they’ve added 73 crypto companies, including Crypto.com, Binance, and Coinbase, to the lineup of digital asset service providers.

According to one law firm that handled 16 applications by crypto firms, the jurisdiction in Italy has the easiest regulatory process. Currently, all they have to do is register with the OAM.

Major Crypto Firms Tout Regulatory Compliance without Proper Checks

After being added to the registry in July, Coinbase stated that they had achieved a key accomplishment in the road to operating in Europe. It went on to add that it had received approval from Italy’s regulatory authorities to provide residents with crypto services. When Crypto.com and Binance were approved, both firms made such statements as well.

Receiving approval from a regulatory authority allows crypto companies to register with local agencies. This status assures investors that the firm has undergone relevant assessments by the country’s regulatory agencies. However, in Italy, the approval granted by the OAM may not be backed by appropriate verification.

No Crypto Companies Vetted Before Being Added to Registry

Currently, firms must register with the OAM to resume operations in Italy, but none of the ones added to the list were vetted. In fact, the OAM has confirmed that it has yet to decide on how it will gather information from companies, and won’t begin the process of collecting data until 2023. It implies that it isn’t monitoring fund flows as of yet. It’s also likely that there are no measures to keep criminals from using crypto firms as a way to move money.

In contrast to other jurisdictions in the EU, Italy’s jurisdiction is much simpler and doesn’t require firms to comply with anti-money laundering or operational integrity standards. As for Italy’s next-door neighbor France, crypto companies need to provide four forms that detail their internal AML controls, major shareholders, executive management, and operations. Only after getting approval on these forms can firms get a spot on the country’s own registry of crypto companies.