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Although Europe will no longer formally prohibit the use of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies, the EU parliament wants to outright prohibit the use of crypto assets for anonymous payments.
In Brussels, a new draft for the regulation of crypto assets is raising consternation. According to the revised proposal, all crypto-asset transactions, regardless of their value, should be subject to identification. The ceiling had previously been proposed by the EU Commission to be set at €1000. However, the rapporteurs of the Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs (LIBE) have both spoken out in favor of crypto payments' complete anonymity.
The argument is that they want to keep money laundering and terrorism financing out of the system. As a result, operators of wallets, Bitcoin ATMs, and other services would need to verify that users are accurately recognized in order to track transactions. However, it is obvious that this is only achievable to a certain extent. Because peer-to-peer payments between local wallets can still be done anonymously without the intervention of a third party.
The Risks of Unknown Donations
The Pirate Party is the source of criticism. Patrick Breyer, a member of the LIBE committee and MEP for the Pirate Party of Germany, says: “A complete ban on anonymous payments would not have any appreciable reducing effects on crime, but it would deprive innocent citizens of their financial freedom. For example, to collect donations, opposition figures like Alexej Navalny are increasingly dependent on anonymous donations in virtual currencies around the world,”.
“Banks have already turned off the donation tap for Wikileaks. With the creeping abolition of real and virtual cash, there is a risk of negative interest rates and the constant turning off of the money supply. We need to find ways to bring the best qualities of cash into our digital future. We also have the right to be able to pay and donate online without our payment behavior being recorded without cause and on a personal basis. We pirates will oppose these plans,” Breyer continued.
The European Union wants to tighten regulations on cryptocurrency assets.
For quite some time, there has been discussion concerning new laws for using crypto assets. The EU Commission proposed in the summer of 2021 that future crypto asset transactions must be able to be monitored and assigned to individuals in order to “counter money laundering and terrorist financing”. Providers of crypto services would therefore be required to identify users, for example, using an ID card, in accordance with KYC rules.