Seventy-three prominent crypto firms, including Binance, Coinbase, and Crypto.com, have secured regulatory approval to operate in Italy without undergoing vetting.
The companies made it into a registry set up to ensure they do not engage in money laundering schemes.
While regulators are known for delaying application processing, Italy quickly accepted the 73 crypto firms to its roster for digital currency providers.
Coinbase, which joined the list in July, said it reached a “key milestone” in serving European customers. Binance and Crypto.com issued similar statements.
What Is the Need for Regulatory Approvals?
Obtaining regulatory approval means that relevant authorities have scrutinized a company in the country. They serve as a badge of honor, signaling to investors that the approved companies are safe and they abide by investor-protection standards.
Italy’s approval of companies without vetting does not guarantee investors’ assurance. The Organismo Agentie Mediatori (OAM), the body in charge of maintaining lists of financial agents, said they are still deciding on collecting relevant data from the companies.
According to OAM, they might not start collecting the information until next year. This means they are not currently monitoring the fund flows or controls in place to prevent criminal activity.
Francesco Dagnino, the managing partner at Lexia Avvocati, a Milan-based law firm that handled a few applications, said Italy’s registration process is “very light.”
“Italy is probably, as far as I’m aware of, the jurisdiction with the most simple process. It’s just a registration,” said Dagnino.
Other countries in the European Union, such as France, require companies to present four different forms of detailed information about the company before they approve them.
This includes operations, executive management, significant shareholders, and internal AML controls. Binance and Crypto.com are among the platforms qualified for registration in France.
In a recent evaluation, the Financial Action Task Force said that Italy’s measures to counter money laundering are “extensive and mature.” However, supervisory authorities must do more to ensure the rules are followed effectively.
Italy’s Registration Process
In May, Italy created an exceptional roster for crypto firms shortly after implementing new anti-money laundering rules for virtual asset service providers (VASPs).
The application requires an entity to submit ten pieces of information, including the company’s name, tax code, email address, physical locations, ATMs, and web address.
To qualify for the registry, the applicants must also provide a registered office and administrative office. If a company doesn’t have an office in the country, it must set up one.
Binance, which already operates in the country, has only one office in Leece province in southern Italy. Crypto.com and Coinbase have listed the same address, although Coinbase confirmed that they still don’t have an address in Italy.