Georgia, a prominent cryptocurrency-friendly nation in the post-Soviet region, is preparing to monitor cryptocurrency companies as part of its efforts to prevent money laundering and adhere to sanctions. Starting from September 1st, 2023, the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) will implement mandatory oversight of virtual asset service providers (VASPs).
Acting governor of the NBG, Archil Mestvirishvili, stated that these new regulatory measures aim to combat money laundering and enhance the country's compliance with Western sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus. The NBG plays a crucial role in supervising compliance with these sanctions, with heightened activity observed last year following the imposition of sanctions by global jurisdictions such as the United States and the European Union.
In addition to the oversight of virtual asset service providers (VASPs), the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) is getting ready to implement significant restrictions for foreign bank account holders. Effective September 1, Russian citizens will have a withdrawal limit of no more than 20% from their savings accounts immediately.
The central bank states that these measures are intended to maintain Georgia's economic stability amidst the rise in foreign currency deposits from Russians, with the aim of keeping these funds in liquid assets due to the potential temporary nature of the capital inflow.
This development coincides with the Georgian government's plans to pass cryptocurrency-related legislation during the autumn session, aiming to align local laws with major European Union directives, establish legal status for entities involved in digital asset trading, prevent crypto-related money laundering and terrorist financing, and position Georgia as a prominent global cryptocurrency hub.