UK crypto payments firm to shut down due to new EU anti-money laundering guideline

Three months after raising a $2 million seed round, cryptocurrency payments startup Bottle Pay announced on Friday it is shutting down due to regulatory pressure from the European Union (EU). 

In a blog post, the UK-based firm said it will cease operating on Dec. 31 at 13:00 GMT due to concerns over EU's 5th Anti-Money-Laundering-Directive (5AMLD), which is set to take effect in January 2020. 

Bottle Pay stated in the blog post that it strongly disagrees with the new regulation's KYC rules and thinks these requirements would "alter the current user experience so radically, and so negatively, that we are not willing to force this onto our community." 

"To maintain our integrity as service providers, and to protect the interests of our team, investors and users, we have taken the painful decision to shut Bottle Pay down completely rather than become subject to these new regulations," Bottle Pay stated. 

Launched in June, Bottle Pay provided a browser extension tool that allowed users to send small bitcoin payments across social media platforms and messaging apps. The company told The Block in September that it had seen 100% month-over-month growth in the number of payments sent through the app. 

Compared to 4AMLD, which was enacted in 2017, 5AMLD imposes more stringent reporting obligations of cryptocurrency ownerships. The new directive requires exchanges and wallet providers to register with local authorities and authorize Financial Intelligence Units to obtain the addresses and identities of owners of virtual currency.