Money laundering and financing of terrorism have become a source of major risks in business operations over recent years. On one hand, businesses are exposed to the risk that their services may be used for money laundering, and on the other hand they are increasingly targeted by strict AML regulations, where noncompliance can carry stiff sanctions.
The amendment of the Payment Services Act is intended to implement the Payment Accounts Directive into the Polish legal system and to adapt Polish law to the Interchange Regulation. In addition to achieving compliance with EU regulations, the new provisions introduce a new type of regulated activity, as operators of payment schemes will be required to obtain approval from the head of the central bank.
Controversies surrounding application of money-laundering regulations generate legal uncertainty for businesses operating in the field of digital currencies.
Several regulations setting maximum levels for interchange fees have entered the legal system recently. It is already clear that these regulations are having a major impact on the market, causing some enterprises to revise their business model. An interesting issue from the point of view of the law of new technologies is whether these regulations are technologically neutral, or apply only to a selected group of payment instruments.
Poland’s first clearinghouse for cash-free payments was established in 1990. In 1991 the first payment cards for individual clients were issued in Poland. The history of cash-free trade in this country now goes back over a quarter-century. But one of the key Polish regulations governing money—the Foreign Exchange Law—has not kept pace with the evolution of the forms in which money is used, but remains fixed in times when the dominant form of money was cash. There are many signs that this state of affairs may soon change.
Bitcoin opened up a spectrum of possibilities and a legal Pandora’s Box. But block chain—the technology on which Bitcoin is based—generates even greater potential and further legal challenges.