Commonwealth Specialist Group Calls for Regulation of Virtual Currencies

The first meeting of the Commonwealth Working Group on Virtual Currencies concluded on 26 August, 2015 in London, UK. In a press release, the group acknowledged that “Virtual currencies have a potential to benefit Member States and to drive development”.The Commonwealth is an association of sovereign nations which support each other and work together towards international goals. With their common heritage in language, culture, law, education and democratic traditions, among other things, Commonwealth countries are able to work together in an atmosphere of greater trust and understanding than generally prevails among nations.The Commonwealth Virtual Currencies Working Group was formed “to investigate the opportunities and challenges presented by virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.”The report said that “member states should consider the applicability of their existing legal frameworks to virtual currencies and where appropriate they should consider adapting them or enacting new legislation to regulate virtual currencies”. Moreover, member states were also encouraged to implement the FATF Guidance for a “Risk based approach to Virtual Currencies”.The next meeting of the specialist group is scheduled for early 2016 “to consider draft technical guidance for member states on virtual currencies”.

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