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UK Crypto Firms Now Mandated to Follow Travel Rule

Crypto assets firms located in the United Kingdom are now required to comply with the Financial Action Task Force’s Travel Rule as part of the change in the region’s money laundering legislation. 

Global Fight Against Money Laundering

The rule which came into effect today, demands that these crypto-focused companies collect, verify, and share information about crypto asset transfers, known as the ‘Travel Rule’. UK watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is charged with enforcing the rule in the region. Markedly, the Travel Rule is part of a global effort to further integrate anti-money laundering rules and counter-terrorist financing regulation into on-chain activities. As such, the Financial Action Task Force has implored other jurisdictions to swiftly enforce the rules. Ultimately, the rule is focused on aligning the practices in the crypto asset ecosystem to those obtainable in the traditional financial sector. 

“As a result, we have worked closely with industry to provide guidance on how to comply and what we reasonably expect of firms ahead of other countries following the UK’s position,” the Financial Conduct Authority stated. Therefore, crypto asset businesses in the UK will be required “comply with the rule when sending or receiving a cryptoasset transfer to a firm that is in the UK, or any jurisdiction that has implemented the Travel Rule.” In the process of ensuring that this rule is adhered to in some of these jurisdictions, certain crypto transfers may be impeded. As stated by the FCA, UK digital asset ventures would need to retrieve information according to money laundering regulations from entities that do not fall into jurisdictions that have adopted the rule (that is, non-Travel Rule jurisdictions)”. 

Travel Rule: Implementation Challenges

In the situation where the information provided is either incomplete or incorrect, the business must perform risk-based assessment before deciding to release the requested crypto asset to the beneficiary. Some members of the public already believe that implementing the rule will come with some challenges. Chainalysis UK Public Policy Lead Jordan Wain explained that “Companies will need to collect relevant Travel Rule information, and create a means to delay, reject or block transfers that do not meet the required criteria.” Aja Heise, XBTO Senior Compliance Officer calls the rule a “complex web of different regulatory requirements” that institutions will be required to adhere to.