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, Publisher and Editor in Chief of industry leading online publication, Blockchain News and co-founder and director at Blockchain Partners in London/Amsterdam/NYC. Kastelein is also an advisor with a number Blockchain startups doing ICOs including Humaniq.co where hs is interim CMO, DECENT.ch, Inchain, Chronobank, eGaas and others. He is regarded as one of the top journalists by the Blockchain and fintech communities – as is evident by his entry in the Top 150 Fintech journalists online and in the top 10 of the Blockchain Top 100 List.

As a prominent keynote presenter, he has spoken on Blockchain at events in Gdansk, Amsterdam, Minsk, Dubai, Antwerp, Eindhoven, Bucharest, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Brussels, Barcelona etc, where he helped spread the cause for Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and, consequently, has built a notable network in the scene.

He’s also a director of a Dutch foundation called The Hackitarians and has run innovation events in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities around the world on topics such Blockchain, Health, Energy, Internet of Things, AI etc.

In 2013, the European Commission appointed him as an expert for overseeing financing for emerging startups as a part of the European Commission’s 90 billion euro Horizon 2020 project, created in Brussels to promote innovation as a driving force of job creation and business ventures across Europe. He has also worked as an external expert for Innovate UK since 2012, judging startups for the UK government.

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