Dutch Finance Minister Calls for ICO Regulations


Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra issued a letter to parliament on Thursday advocating for an international approach to cryptocurrency regulation.

His initial focus is new consumer protections, public documents suggest. To start, Hoekstra wants to talk with credit card companies about potentially instituting stronger protections for people who buy cryptocurrency with credit cards, for example.

Under some of the proposals put forth by Hoekstra, local exchange platforms and cryptocurrency services would reportedly need to register with the government and adhere to know-your-customer requirements by the end of 2019. In the letter, the finance minister proposed new laws to help protect initial coin offering (ICOs) participants as well.

He explained:

“It is being investigated whether investors in ICOs can become just as good protected as investors with a normal IPO or bond issue. The current framework is not sufficient for this.”

The proposals are notable, given that regulators in the country have flagged issues around the tech – ICOs in particular – in the past.

The Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM), which is the Dutch equivalent of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, issued a statement last November calling the ICO market a “dangerous cocktail.” In a nod to those statements, Hoekstra proposed bans that would prohibit advertising risky financial products to ordinary consumers.

Further, he promised to work with other countries in the European Union and promote cooperative research to explore the “cross-border nature of the market.”

Still, Hoekstra indicated that within the Netherlands, more work is needed on updating the country’s laws to account for cryptocurrencies and the more speculative activities around it.

“The current supervisory framework and instruments are insufficiently tailored to cryptocurrency,” he wrote in the letter.

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