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Ukraine passes draft digital currency bill at first stage

Lawmakers in Ukraine have approved a draft bill on digital currency regulation, in a move that could pave the way for a new legal structure for regulating the sector in the country.

The Draft Bill on Virtual Assets was accepted by politicians in the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament, and will now proceed through two further legislative steps before potentially being signed into national law.

Should that go ahead, Ukraine will join several other countries worldwide in having dedicated laws for digital currency on their statute books. Ukraine has already been noted to be one of the world’s most forward thinking countries on digital currency, with widespread trade, investment and savings in digital currency across the country.

The bill met with some resistance in parliament, with several lawmakers objecting to the time spent debating the matter in light of the considerable economic challenges facing the country. However, in a vote, lawmakers gave the nod with approval from 229 of the country’s 340 members.

Under the proposed rules, digital currencies would be regulated by the Ministry of the Digital Transformation, with a requirement that digital currency companies register and obtain a license from the regulator.

Companies will also be required to provide comprehensive information on anti-money laundering measures, protecting user data and their beneficial ownership and legal structures.

According to the Ministry of the Digital Transformation, the new regime would help support digital currency businesses in Ukraine, and would help attract companies to set up shop in the country.

Despite local opposition to regulation in concept, the bill was drafted with support from the Ministry and the Ukrainian digital currency community, in order to accurately structure the new rules.

The bill will now be subject to further scrutiny through its final stages of parliamentary process, before lawmakers vote on whether the bill should become law.

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