Romania Releases Draft Bill Regulating the Issuance of Digital Currency

The Ministry of Finance of Romania has released a draft Emergency Ordinance, which regulates the issuance of electronic money (e-money), Business Review reported July 5.

The draft reportedly describes electronic money as “monetary value stored electronically, including magnetic, representing a claim on the issuer issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of performing payment transactions and which is accepted by a person other than the issuer of electronic money.” According to the document, any legal entity looking to issue e-money must have a share capital of no less than €350,000 ($409,000), while its members are subject of approval by the Romanian National Bank (BNR).

The document specifies the categories of entities eligible to issuance of e-money, listing credit institutions, electronic money institutions, the European Central Bank, and the national central banks. To be approved by the BNR, entities should develop a formal framework to manage the carefully designed e-money issuance activity. The authorization will reportedly be valid for 12 months from the date of issue, and cancelled if an entity does not start issuance of e-money within this period.

Upon commencement of issuance activity, companies will reportedly be obliged to provide annual audit reports and submit the accounts to the BNR, which will also act as the oversight body. Unauthorized issuance of e-money is reportedly considered a crime, and is punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years or by fine.

Though Bitcoin ATMs appeared in Romania in early 2014, the country’s Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Environment Minister Ilan Laufer expressed his belief in digital currencies in 2017, also saying that the space should be regulated:

“It’s a challenge for the banking system because this area isn’t very well regulated and I believe that this should happen. It’s an area in which lots of money circulates, but it is also a new technology.”

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