Do money laundering regulations apply to DAOs?

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  • Germany


As currently no specific anti money laundering (AML) regulations regarding DAOs exist, only the general AML regulations may apply. However, the applicability of the general AML regulations to DAOs is not explicitly provided for. Therefore, they apply only if the DAO falls within their scope. The most important current German AML regulation is the Money Laundering Act (Geldwäschegesetz – GwG). Additionally, in the case of transfer of crypto tokens the Crypto Asset Transfer Regulation Kryptowertetransferververordnung) may apply.  AML regulations target primarily banks, financial institutions and similar entities defined by the relevant banking and capital markets laws, in particular but not exclusively by the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz, KWG). Therefore, if the DAO qualifies as such an entity, it basically falls within the scope of the AML regulations as well. Though other entities (e. g. real estate agents, insurance companies or insurance agents) are basically also subject to AML regulations, they are less unlikely to be relevant for DAOs. However, it is possible that in future further relevant use cases will be developed.  In current practice,
DAOs which are involved in financial activities or offer financial services are the most likely to be subject to AML regulations.

Zsofia Vig

Banking and Capital Markets Law (DeFi/Web3, Crypto in general, tokenized Securities)

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