De Nederlandsche Bank NV — the Dutch central bank — has registered about 20 crypto exchanges in the country but is no closer to determining the number of cryptocurrency investors in the country.
According to Dutch online news service Nu.nl, regulators like DNB and the Autoriteit Financiële Markten, or AFM, as well as the investor group Vereniging Van Effectenbezitters, or VEB are unsure of the crypto ownership demographic in the Netherlands.
Since late 2020, Dutch authorities began enforcing the European Union’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive with significant implications for crypto businesses.
Under the AMLD-5 paradigm, the De Nederlandsche Bank has mandated strict compliance with Know Your Customer and AML protocols for Dutch crypto exchanges, a move that has been met with severe criticism from industry participants given the invasive nature of the policy.
In January, Bitstamp imposed KYC for Dutch traders withdrawing crypto to external wallets, demanding photographic proof-of-wallet ownership before effecting such payments. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Netherlands-based Bitcoin (BTC) exchange platform Bitonic dragged the DNB to court over the wallet verification rule.
However, strict KYC requirements aside, the DNB continues to maintain a neutral position concerning crypto trading, with a central bank spokesperson telling Nu.nl:
“We are not advising for or against investment but we do have an opinion. A crypto does not represent anything, it’s not a share in anything. It’s not a loan which is returned with interest.”
The DNB spokesperson also clarified the extent of the central bank’s oversight to only AML and the use of crypto for other criminal activities.
As for the AFM, the financial monitoring agency is of the opinion that crypto trading is based purely on hype and speculation. Thus, the AFM says it will continue to issue warnings to retail traders about the risk of investing in cryptocurrencies, similar to those issued by regulators across the globe.