Sunacrip, the Venezuelan cryptocurrency watchdog, recently released a series of new AML / KYC requirements for VASPs (Virtual Asset Service Providers) which set new and updated rules for the type of information these providers need and share with the Venezuelan government need to set off alarms in the cryptocurrency community about what the government might do with this data.
The Venezuelan crypto watchdog Sunacrip strengthens the KYC / AML requirements for VASPs
Last week the Superintendent of crypto assets and related activities in Venezuela (Sunacrip) quietly released a new set of rules aimed at tightening the KYC / AML requirements that this institution requires of virtual asset service providers offering these services on Venezuelan soil.
The new norm released in the National Gazette under the title:
Rules for the management and control of the risks associated with the legitimation of justice, terrorist financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction that apply to service providers for virtual assets, as well as to persons and organizations that provide products and services in the context of virtual assets in the integral System of crypto assets.
It defines a number of new rules aimed at obtaining detailed information about individuals and institutions who use the services of VASPs in the country.
At its core, the rule defines VASPs comprehensively and encompasses custody services and wallet providers. This means that every wallet provider should adhere to it. These VASPs would need to appoint a compliance officer to define a money laundering risk mitigation plan and report directly to Sunacrip.
The rule also provides that every transaction with a value of more than EUR 1,000 must be transmitted immediately together with the IDs of the sender and recipient of the amount of money, whereby the so-called travel rule established and officially accepted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF ) in 2019 as part of its global recommendation for cross-border and domestic bank transfers.
The rule also includes a chapter requiring these VASPs to regularly check the number of customers in the Venezuelan jurisdiction, as well as a full record of the transactions each and every one of them made, including the balances of each account. However, no fines or penalties are imposed for violating these guidelines.
While this new rule raises some concerns among the numerous Venezuelan cryptocurrency communities that use these tools as a refuge against inflation, most are skeptical of the government’s actual ability to enforce it through its channels.
While exchanges like Binance have a strong national presence, they do not currently have any offices in the country. These rules would only apply to national exchanges, which, despite their relatively low trading volume, are already closely monitored by the government. In addition, wallet providers cannot obtain KYC information from their users. To comply with these rules, they would have to change the way they register users and ask for recipients’ personal information when moving funds.
This is the opinion of Raul Velasquez, a Venezuelan lawyer connected to the cryptocurrency environment who spoke on the subject in an article Podcast Early last week. He stated that it would be absurd to ask for this information from wallet providers who do not solicit it from their users.
However, Velasquez also believes that this new set of rules is an invitation for traditional companies like banks that already comply with these regulations to enter the cryptocurrency world by becoming VASPs under this law. “These institutions already have the logistical organization to comply with these rules and they can bear the cost of complying with them,” he said.
What do you think of these new rules and their enforceability? Let us know what you think on this matter in the comments section below.
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