Taiwan’s Financial Regulator to Conduct Limited Oversight of Cryptocurrencies

The Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan has indicated its intentions to maintain only a limited oversight of cryptocurrencies. The regulator said it’s going to focus mainly on the enforcement of anti-money laundering policies, while remaining open towards innovations like those coming from the crypto sector.

Also read: Bitcoin Businesses Denied Banking Services in Ireland

Not Stifling Innovation

With the executive power in Taipei still mulling over new regulations for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), representatives of Taiwan’s financial regulator indicated their unwillingness to slow down progress in the fintech industry. The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) will mainly focus on one of its core duties – overseeing the enforcement of anti-money laundering policies, and will continue to welcome innovations that come with digital currencies.

During a press conference on Thursday, Banking Bureau Deputy Director Sherri Chuang said the FSC prefers to monitor developments and avoid stifling early-stage growth. Quoted by The Taipei Times, she emphasized:

The commission maintains an open stance and welcomes all industry innovations.

Chuang also noted that cryptocurrencies, and the tokens issued through ICOs, which are classified as commodities at this stage, do not currently fall under the commission’s jurisdiction. The regulator is only involved in preventing money laundering through virtual assets, the official reiterated before the media. Sherri Chuang compared the situation with that of the lease finance companies, where the involvement of the regulator is also limited to money laundering prevention.

According to another representative of the commission, Securities and Futures Bureau Chief Secretary Chien Hung-ming, ICOs do not cross any regulatory red lines in Taiwan. He explained that each coin offering would be assessed on a case-by-case basis, noting that regulators are primarily concerned with examining the fundraising prospects of the respective token sale.

The FSC will assess each issuance to determine if the digital coin should be classified as a security or a virtual commodity, Chien added. “It is very difficult to define broadly, as each case is different,” the FSC official pointed out.

Not Following China

The Executive Yuan, or the Taiwanese government, has yet to develop and adopt comprehensive regulations for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. In April, high-ranking officials indicated that the respective legislative framework should be developed and introduced by November, 2018, as news.Bitcoin.com reported.

According to a statement by Taiwan’s Justice Minister, Qiu Taisan, the government intends to task the FSC with developing the regulatory system for digital currencies. The Ministry of the Interior, the Investigation Bureau, and the Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) are expected to assist the commission.

Although cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been increasingly mentioned as a subject of concern, mainly in the light of money laundering, Taiwan is not likely to severely restrict them. Last year the chairman of the FSC, Wellington Koo, confirmed that the country would not adopt a prohibitive regulatory framework like the one implemented in China.

Earlier in April, Taiwan’s Central Bank signaled it would favor regulating cryptocurrencies under the country’s existing anti-money laundering laws. Its new governor, Yang Chin-long, suggested that the Ministry of Justice should include bitcoin in the scope of ROC’s Money Laundering Control Act.

Do you expect Taiwan to eventually adopt crypto-friendly regulations? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.  

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