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EU Crypto AML Authority to Establish HQ in Frankfurt

The EU's new Anti-Money Laundering Authority will be headquartered in Frankfurt, bolstering financial oversight in the region. Set to commence operations by mid-2025, the authority will supervise high-risk financial entities, including cryptocurrency firms operating across EU borders.

The European Union's forthcoming Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) has announced Frankfurt as its chosen headquarters location, marking a pivotal move in strengthening financial oversight within the region. Set to commence operations by mid-2025, the AMLA will wield authority over high-risk and cross-border financial entities, including cryptocurrency firms operating across EU borders.

Frankfurt: The Financial Nexus

Frankfurt's selection as the AMLA's headquarters underscores its stature as Europe's financial nucleus. Home to the European Central Bank and renowned for its robust financial infrastructure, the city offers an ideal setting for regulatory coordination and oversight activities. Among a shortlist of contenders, Frankfurt emerged as the prime location, eclipsing cities like Brussels, Dublin, and Paris.

Supervisory Framework and Oversight

The AMLA will collaborate closely with financial intelligence units and regulatory bodies across EU member states, ensuring effective supervision of high-risk financial entities. Its general board will comprise representatives from regulatory bodies and financial intelligence units, fostering a collaborative approach to regulatory oversight. The executive board, consisting of the chair and independent members, will spearhead governance and decision-making processes.

Regulatory Landscape and Timelines

The establishment of the AMLA coincides with the EU's comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, known as the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation. While MiCA came into force in June 2023, specific rules governing asset-referenced tokens and e-money tokens are slated for implementation by June 2024. Regulations pertaining to crypto-asset service providers, encompassing trading platforms and wallet providers, will follow suit by December 2024.

Advancing AI Regulations

In tandem with crypto oversight, the EU has embarked on crafting regulations addressing artificial intelligence (AI). The European Parliament's approval of the preliminary agreement on the European AI Act marks a significant milestone in AI-focused legislation. The Act aims to establish robust safeguards and prohibitions against AI applications that undermine citizens' rights, with the first parliamentary vote scheduled for April 2024.