Dutch Bitcoin firm reluctantly tightens rules at central bank’s behest

Unique in Europe, the Dutch central bank now requires Bitcoin exchanges to prove that their users actually control their withdrawal addresses.

Bitconic, a Netherlands-based Bitcoin (BTC) exchange, has informed its users that they now need to comply with a new verification measure in order to continue to use their services. The change comes following new requirements from the Dutch central bank, which were published in Nov. 2019 and stipulate that:

"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."

Bitonic has informed customers that they must now, therefore, provide additional details, including which kind of wallet they use. They must also verify that they are the "legitimate" controller of the Bitcoin address they provide to make withdrawals from Bitonic. To do this, they need to upload a screenshot from their wallet or sign a message.

All these measures, Bitonic states, are "a nuisance," emphasizing that "we do not agree with the measures ourselves." Crypto journalist Aaron van Wirdum notes on Twitter that the requirements far exceed those put on crypto firms in the rest of Europe:

In April of this year, as part of its implementation of the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, or AMLD5, the Dutch Ministry of Finance mandated the Dutch Central Bank to monitor the country's cryptocurrency industry. Already then, experts warned that the finance ministry could be overreaching its authority in appointing the institution to oversee crypto firms.

“This is much more than what the [AMLD5] has indicated. This envisaged way of supervision is unusual,” said Dutch lawyer Frank 't Hart at the time.

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