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Press release on the National Bank of Romania’s position concerning virtual currencies


The National Bank of Romania takes note of the ongoing increase in general public’s interest in virtual currencies1 (also known as crypto-assets) and draws attention that, in its opinion, these currencies continue to be speculative, very volatile and extremely risky assets, with a high potential to cause financial losses for investors, as specified in the press releases issued on 11 March 20152 and 6 February 20183.


Although in the opinion of the European Banking Authority, there is a further high risk of illicit use of virtual currencies, conditions were created for the management of this risk. Specifically, as of 15 July 2020, providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies and custodian wallet providers have been bound to comply with Law No. 129/2019 on preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, and amending and supplementing some legal acts, as subsequently amended and supplemented, inter alia with the requirement to be authorised by or registered with the Ministry of Finance, via the Foreign Exchange Licensing Board.


Additionally, the regulatory process for virtual currencies and related service providers has started at European level, and negotiations between Member States are currently conducted on the basis of the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on markets in crypto-assets4.


The regulations administered by the National Bank of Romania do not prohibit credit institutions to offer account services to providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies and custodian wallet providers. Credit institutions are bound to comply with Law No. 129/2019, namely to apply know-your-customer and risk management measures in the field of prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, and in view of the risks they are exposed to as a result of providing payment account services to these undertakings, by adjusting internal risk policies and the risk management capacity on objective and proportional grounds.


The materialisation of risks specific to holding and trading virtual currencies and the heightened volatility surrounding the price of some traded virtual currencies do not currently pose a threat to financial stability in Romania.