Tuesday 17 July 2018

Accountants warned over Bitcoin terrorism law risks

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Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) says accountants need to keep up to date on developments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, or risk falling foul of anti-money laundering and terrorism laws.

The global accountancy standards body warned the sector in Ireland and other jurisdictions with "historical money-laundering challenges" needs to be particularly alert.

Maggie McGhee, director of Professional Insights at ACCA, says the nature of cryptocurrencies makes them potentially problematic.

"Bitcoin has at least three dimensions that are causes for concern. Firstly, its pseudonymous nature means that while one may identify the address a given payment goes to, it is not possible to confirm the identity of the underlying beneficiary. Secondly, its high volatility makes it inherently risky and unstable.

"Thirdly, it is funding a speculative bubble in other areas like Initial Coin Offerings with speculators chasing poorly formed business propositions," she said.

"As new technologies become adopted, it is vital that professional accountants develop their digital understanding alongside their ethical responsibilities to flag areas of concern," she said.

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