- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has slammed Qatar for not taking enough action against cryptocurrency firms.
- The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cryptocurrency firms has increased the urge for rules and regulations.
- Many countries across the world have been calling on the regulations of cryptocurrency firms and companies.
- FATF is a global agency that works to combat money laundering and terrorist financing
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has received criticism from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for its feeble efforts towards enforcing regulations against virtual asset service providers. In a report released on May 31, the FATF, a global organization that combats money laundering and terrorist financing, emphasized the need for Qatar to enhance its capabilities to tackle evolving forms of criminal activity effectively. The decry included taking action against Cryptocurrency companies and providers.
FATF highlighted Qatar’s need to improve its understanding of more complex methods of money laundering and terrorist financing. In December 2019, the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced that virtual asset services were prohibited within or from the Qatar Financial Centre. The regulatory authority issued a warning at that time. They stated that penalties would follow any firm that provides or facilitates the provision or exchange of crypto assets. This, they stated, was per the QFCRA’s rights and obligations.
That notwithstanding, the FATF report acknowledged Qatar’s “positive and sustained progress” in collecting beneficial ownership information. They acknowledged their near-complete unified register, which consolidates data on its citizens. However, it emphasized that there is still more work to be done. They urged Qatari authorities to enhance their investigative efforts against money laundering. Furthermore, FATF claimed Qatari’s sophisticated analysis capabilities to identify money laundering instances are not fully utilized.
Qatar has imposed a ban on virtual asset service providers. Despite that, the middle east nation revealed they are exploring the potential use cases for a CBDC. In June 2022, QCB was in the foundation stage of releasing a CBDC. Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al Thani, the governor of Qatar’s central bank, stated that the QCB evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of CBDCs and determined the appropriate technology and platform.
In summary, the FATF has criticized the QCB for its inadequate enforcement of regulations. This is regarding virtual asset service providers. Qatar has been urged to enhance its understanding and capabilities to combat evolving forms of criminal activity, including virtual asset-related offences. While Qatar has made progress in gathering beneficial ownership information, the FATF emphasized the need for further efforts in combating money laundering. Additionally, Qatar is exploring the potential use of a central bank digital currency, with the QCB currently in the foundation stage of its implementation.