Terrorism is the new catch-all buzzword in the news and amongst regulators these days. Anything can be used by a "terrorist", so anything can be regulated in this fight against terrorism, under this burgeoning collectivist mindset. It appears that Bitcoin will now be one of the European Commission’s targets for new regulatory authority involving the use of Bitcoin the coming months, if not immediately.
Read the full story below.
What is the European Commission, you might ask? The European Commission represents Europe’s largest governing body, with 28 member nations each declaring a member for each nation. These 28 people are not beholden to their nation’s interests but are instead paid to think of Europe’s best interests, not working for each nation, themselves.
The European Commission is in charge of proposing new legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU. More or less, a Congress or Parliament for the E.U., and this is what they propose for Bitcoin.
Even though Great Britain has already proven that terrorism and money laundering are not crimes that Bitcoin is used for in Europe or Great Britain (see this article at DCE Brief here, with a financial crime assessment chart taken directly from the HM Treasury report), the Commission has safeguards it will put into place at some point in the near future. This starts with ways to stop potential money laundering through digital currencies as follows, according to their official press release yesterday:
“Tackling terrorist financing risks linked to virtual currencies: to prevent their abuse for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes, the Commission proposes to bring virtual currency exchange platforms under the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive, so that these platforms have to apply customer due diligence controls when exchanging virtual for real currencies, ending the anonymity associated with such exchanges;”
In the accompanying “ FactSheet ”, regulating the use of Bitcoin through exchanges was first on the list of upcoming regulatory initiatives, which also includes the increased regulation of pre-paid debit cards. The “deadline” listed is “early 2016” for the implementation of these European regulations involving Bitcoin use. It does not detail whether this is just for exchanges based in the E.U. or for any use by a European of any Bitcoin exchange, worldwide.
Interestingly, the European Commission also states that they will “publish a report on money laundering and terrorism financing with recommendations to the Member States.” sometime in 2017. This flies in the face of the exhaustive HM Treasury report Great Britain produced on this very matter last year, which already directly implicated banks and cash most used and accessible criminal modalities for terrorism and money laundering. In any event, the forthcoming legal and regulatory actions of the European Commission in this matter, on behalf of the European Union, will begin to take effect in the immediate future.
“The Action Plan lists a number of concrete measures that will be put into practice by the Commission immediately. Others will follow in the months to come. All the actions presented today should be carried out by the end of 2017.”