Ella van Kranenburg is a partner at the law office of Keijser Van der Velden, a Dutch niche firm that focuses on financial services regulations, such as the Dutch Financial Supervision Act and anti-money laundering legislation. She offers legal assistance to her clients in this area of law, and has been a lawyer in The Netherlands since 1996. Her clients vary from traditional financial institutions to payment service providers and crowdfunding platforms. Ella regularly writes and speaks about financial regulations, including circumstances where such regulations can affect the fintech industry.
Legislators and supervisors are struggling with the phenomenon “virtual currency”, and some may have the tendency to frame businesses in the sector as potentially regulated entities, frequently without consideration for the non-financial applications of the technology. During Bitcoin Wednesday on 6 January 2016, Ella will look into the current status of the regulatory landscape for digital currency in the Netherlands in comparison to some other European countries. If the European government elects to regulate areas of law that are relevant to digital currencies, the European legislator may be influenced by rules that currently apply to traditional financial institutions regardless of the potential negative consequences.
Ella believes that the same rules for traditional financial companies should not necessarily be applied to the digital currency sector: Many of rules currently governing traditional finance are fairly new. Most of these new rules have been driven by specific incidents (e.g. financial crisis / Libor) and often they have been drawn up on an ad hoc basis and they have not been sufficiently thought through. From a long-term perspective, one could also debate whether the current system of rules adequately addresses the risks that became manifest because of these incidents. Many of the financial services regulations that came into place in The Netherlands and the EU since the financial crisis appear to be driven by politics more than expertise and common sense, and constant repairs are required. Additionally, the amount of rules in the financial sector is so immense that parties, including legislators and regulators, have a hard time keeping up with them. The principle of ‘less is more’ clearly, in the view of the EU legislator, does not apply to rules for the financial companies.
Ella will also give a brief outlook on rules that may be proposed in Europe for virtual currencies in the course of 2016 as a result of the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015.