Blockrise works with NVB to introduce Sector Standard for crypto service providers

November 14, 2023
3 min read
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Blockrise, as an active member of the Verenigde Bitcoinbedrijven Nederland (VBNL), has been working closely with the Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken (NVB) over the past few months to draft the introduction of the Sector Standard for crypto service providers.

The NVB's Sector Standard is a document designed to assist banks in assessing the risk associated with taking on crypto companies as corporate clients. It provides banks with the necessary tools to conduct their customer due diligence focused on risk, while also providing clarity for both banks and crypto companies on what to expect in terms of questions and compliance. The crypto industry hopes this will make it easier for crypto service providers to open business accounts with commercial banks.

The Sector Standard for crypto service providers includes a list of risk-reducing and risk-increasing factors. Examples of risk-reducing factors include being licensed in the European Union (for example, with DNB in the Netherlands), and operating within a country with an adequate Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulatory framework for service providers. There are also some crypto-focused recommendations. For example, it is a risk-increasing factor when the crypto service provider accepts privacy tokens such as Zcash and Monero, as their origin is difficult to trace.

The newly introduced standard is not legally binding. This leaves it up to banks to formulate and follow their own policies. Banks can decide at any time whether or not to accept a crypto service provider. This provides flexibility, but it is also unclear whether the threshold for crypto companies to open an account will actually become different.

The creation of the Sector Standard was facilitated by a series of roundtable discussions between the VBNL, NVB and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). These open dialogues were crucial to bridge the gap between the traditional financial sector and the emerging world of cryptocurrencies.

Blockrise welcomes this initiative to achieve greater clarity and is proud to contribute to it. Blockrise hopes it will open doors for Dutch banks to reconsider how they assess the risks of cryptocurrencies as customers. Still, there remains room for improvement within the Sector Standard. The VBNL stresses its support for the initiative but points out that they would have liked to have seen more of their suggestions implemented, particularly with regard to assessing the risk of self-custody of cryptocurrencies.

While the Sector Standard is an important step forward, Blockrise stresses that continued collaboration and adaptation are needed to strike a balance between promoting innovation in the cryptocurrency sector and maintaining the necessary financial integrity and security. The company remains actively involved in further developments and hopes for continued improvement of the Sector Standard to support the growth of Bitcoin businesses in the Netherlands.

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