Dutch Bitcoin Exchange Files Preliminary Injunction to Suspend Wallet Verification Rule Enacted by the Netherlands

Dutch Bitcoin Exchange Files Preliminary Injunction to Suspend Wallet Verification Rule Enacted by the Central Bank

A Dutch bitcoin (BTC) exchange has filed a preliminary injunction at a court in Rotterdam to suspend the central bank’s additional wallet-verification requirements. Bitonic seeks to challenge the new rules enacted by the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) on Sept. 21, 2020.

Dutch Exchange Argues Additional KYC Rules Lack ‘a Proper Legal Basis’

Per the bitcoin exchange’s announcement, the additional know your customer (KYC) requirements imposed by the central bank violate users’ privacy. However, the crypto firm clarifies that the legal obligations “are not under discussion” within this case.

A section of the first set of rules published by the Dutch central bank in 2019 reads:

Crypto service providers must check whether their clients and any ultimate beneficiary owners (UBOs) are on a Dutch or European sanctions list and report any hits to DNB. Risk-based checks are not permitted … Compliance also entails that institutions must check incoming and outgoing payment transfers.

But when Bitonic was granted registration as a “provider of crypto services” by the DNB, they were required to comply with the new measures that they disagreed with in the first instance. At the time, the bitcoin exchange said:

From now on, we are required to ask additional details such as the purpose with which you intend to purchase bitcoins and what kind of wallet you use. Furthermore, we are obligated to verify that you are the legitimate owner of the given bitcoin address by requesting you to upload a screenshot from your wallet, or by signing a message.

Following independent expert advice, the company claims the additional KYC requirement “lacked a proper legal basis.” Bökkerink Compliance International provided the advisory.

The Netherlands-based bitcoin exchange commented on the matter:

We did not receive a convincing answer to the fundamental questions [from the DNB] we raised on this matter during the registration process. In addition, we are also still awating a reply to a letter to DNB, sent in early November 2020 by 25 of the 38 registering parties. Meanwhile, we are for some time now, forced to work in a way that violates privacy rules. To avoid doing so, we asked DNB again, early this year, to revoke the requirement. This request was denied with a referral to the Sanctions Act. However, we do not agree with that explanation.

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KYC Rules Are Still a Controversial Hot Topic Among the Dutch Crypto Community

The history of the Netherlands looking to regulate the crypto industry dates back to 2018. The government argued that they wanted to prevent money laundering and alleged terrorist financing that cryptocurrencies could be favoring.

However, the KYC measures implemented by the Dutch central bank sparked controversy among the local crypto community. In fact, Dutch users have been complaining on social media about crypto exchange Bitstamp’s passivity to challenge the DNB’s rules.

What are your thoughts on the reasons behind this preliminary injunction? Let us know in the comments section below.

Original author: Felipe Erazo
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