The Finnish Financial Services Authority (FIN-FSA) has officially registered LocalBitcoins as a virtual currency provider, starting at the beginning of November 2019. Finland only allows officially registered providers who fulfill the legal requirements to operate in the country.
A safe pair of hands
In order to receive the registration, LocalBitcoins had to prove to the FIN-FSA that it had implemented suitable Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, along with having adequate safeguarding for customer assets.
Management and key personnel also had to fulfill the criteria to be considered fit to serve in the roles.
Part of a longer evolution
Finland is seen as having a high level of control and trust in the global community, and being an official virtual currency provider opens new business opportunities for LocalBitcoins. CEO, Sebastian Sonntag, explained:
“Finland is a well-functioning society, which holds trust and confidence at high levels. At the same time, the controls in the financial sector are of particularly high quality and the position of the clients is well protected.”
The registration by FIN-FSA is just the latest step on LocalBitcoins path from an unregulated champion of KYC-avoiding Bitcoiners, to being a regulated peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange.
LocalBitcoins has previously been known for its adoption in countries that are undergoing political turmoil such as Venezuela. However, its position as an outlet in which citizens can circumvent capital controls on money would seem to now be increasingly in question.
Evidence of this can be seen in the trend of users dropping the service for alternative, and perhaps less-regulated providers.