The European Commission wants to track cryptocurrency transactions

The European Commission wants to track cryptocurrency transactions

According to the Commission's latest proposal, bitcoin and other companies will have to comply with European anti-money laundering rules and transparency requirements for money transfers, banning anonymous wallets and requiring customer traceability

(photo: Ina Fassbender / Afp via Getty Images) Bitcoin and other companies that manage cryptocurrencies will no longer be able to operate anonymously in the European Union. The Commission has in fact advanced a bill that will require these companies to comply with anti-money laundering rules and transparency requirements for cryptocurrency transfers, banning anonymous wallets, imposing customer traceability and setting up a new dedicated anti-money laundering agency.

The proposals made by the European Commissioner for Financial Services, Maireád McGuinness, aim to ensure "full traceability of cryptocurrency transfers, such as bitcoin" and for this reason "to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities and to close the loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities “. Money laundering is an important problem within the European Union, which affects about 1% of all European economic activity. "Transfers of virtual assets are subject to the same money laundering risks as cable transfers", the Commission press release reads, "so it seems logical to use the same legislative tools to address both".

The new regulation proposes to extend the current anti-money laundering legislation, applied to financial services, to "the entire cryptocurrency sector". The providers of these services will therefore be obliged to verify and register the identity of those who send and receive transactions, will have to collaborate with the authorities to prevent the circulation of dirty money and will no longer be able to offer anonymous virtual wallets to users.

"Those involved in the cryptocurrency industry will realize that anonymity no longer exists," Commissioner McGuinness told The Irish Times, "allowing authorities to track all suspicious transactions." The new legislation will in fact put this sector in line with the rest of the financial industry "same activity, same risk, same rules" concluded the Commissioner.

The new anti-money laundering agency

If the proposals McGuinness will be approved by Parliament and member countries, a new anti-money laundering authority will be established under the direct supervision of financial institutions most at risk. The authority would also act as a link to national bank account registers, increasing the coordination of money flows between countries and allowing for "accelerating financial investigations and asset recovery in the event of cross-border crimes". In this way, McGuinness said "criminals will not be able to shop between member states, finding dark areas to direct their funds".

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