“Cryptocurrencies” are not legal currencies


di Avv. Nicola Mainieri

Senior manager at the Bank of Italy, Supervision Inspectorate.
He is supervisor of the Unit supporting the Judicial Authority; he has been a technical consultant of the Public Prosecutor in over sixty proceedings, among which Parmalat, Ortomercato, Crédit Suisse.
He is an expert of the European Commission in the anti-money laundering twinning project with Romania and Turkey.
He is visiting professor at the Università Cattolica of Milan, Postgraduate School “Federico Stella”.
In 2003 he was appointed Cavaliere al merito of the Italian Republic.


“Cryptocurrencies” are not legal currencies, issued by a central bank or another Authority, but a means of electronic payment of the peer-to-peer type based on the voluntary acceptance of the parties. Therefore they represent, in themselves, neither good nor evil.
The trading of legal currency in virtual currency and vice versa, can instead raise critical points from the money laundering and the financing of terrorism point of view, as underlined in international investigations and in reports of suspicious transactions.
It is thus to be appreciated the recent approach of the national legislator (Legislative Decree 90/17) and European legislator (anti money laundering Fifth directive), who applies to the trading platforms, as well as the related electronic purses, registration requirements and supervision to perform those identification requirements, customer due diligence and reporting of suspicious transactions which, for a long time, have been carried out by other operators.