European Union Plan Crackdown on Bitcoin and Anonymous Payments Triggered by Paris Massacre

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After the November 13 terrorist attacks which left 129 dead in Paris, the European Union has made a call for proposals that will curb terrorist funding through nontraditional monetary systems – including the virtual currency bitcoin.

In a leaked draft document seen by Reuters early last week before the meeting, European Union countries are planning a crackdown on Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, anonymous payments made online and via pre-paid cards in a bid to tackle terrorism financing after the Paris attacks. 

The plan is to push the European Commission to propose measures to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by pre-paid cards.”

Bitcoin is the most common virtual currency and is used as a vehicle for moving money around the world quickly and anonymously via the web without the need for third-party verification.

Electronic anonymous payments can be made also with pre-paid debit cards purchased in stores as gift cards.

EU ministers also plan “to curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods,” the draft document said.

European Union interior and justice ministers then agreed on Friday in Brussels to tighten checks on payment methods that may be conducted anonymously and might be used by terrorist organizations to finance attacks. Not only do mainstream consumers not understand the technology, but the potential for using bitcoin for criminal activities has spooked authorities. Aside from the anonymous payment, other methods can be used too, such as the pre-paid credit cards which can also be used without any possibility of tracking.

Among the sectors under assessment, the use of virtual currencies will be subject to particular attention,” a European Commission official said, according to Reuters. 

– European Union Institute for Security Studies

About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) – Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He’s written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein’s professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he’s travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Seas’ travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he’s raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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