The European Commission in Brussels released a statement to the public on Tuesday, stating that the rules for the cryptocurrency market will change. One of the novelties reaches Bitcoin wallets that are considered anonymous, which would then be banned.
The communiqué is called “Conquering Financial Crime”, and presents new rules for the European bloc to combat the financing of terrorism and money laundering.
Called a package of changes, the rules call for the creation of yet another public agency in the region, this time a specific one to deal with the practice of money laundering. In addition, a reinforcement of the staff of the bodies that deal with these issues was requested.
To support the creation and implementation of the rules, the European Commission justifies that such measures protect the citizens of Europe, in addition to protecting the local financial system.
“The purpose of this package is to improve detection of suspicious transactions and activities and close loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the financial system.”
Pack of four legislative proposals highlights anonymous Bitcoin wallets
Europe was expected to regulate Bitcoin by the year 2024. However, the long-awaited regulation could come more stringent than first imagined.
That’s because, in one of the new rules presented on Tuesday, the members of the European Commission called for the full application of the rules on money laundering and terrorist financing in the European cryptocurrency market.
“Currently, only certain categories of cryptoactive service providers are included in the scope of the EU ABC/CFT rules. The proposed reform will extend these rules to the entire cryptocurrency industry, obliging all service providers to perform due diligence on their customers.”
In addition to including all companies in the industry in these rules, the proposal also mentions that anonymous Bitcoin wallets should be banned, an unexpected censorship so far.
“Today’s changes will ensure full traceability of transfers of cryptoactives, such as Bitcoin, and will enable the prevention and detection of their possible use for money laundering or terrorist financing. Furthermore, anonymous cryptoactive wallets will be prohibited, fully applying the EU AML / CFT rules to the cryptocurrency sector.”
When do the proposals come into effect?
It is worth noting that the proposals are still just ideas, which are now being discussed in the European Parliament. Even so, the European Commission hopes that the legislative process will be quick, indicating that there may already be negotiations for this approval.
“The legislative package will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission expects a swift legislative process. The AML authority is expected to be operational by 2024 and will start direct supervision work a little later, once the directive is transposed and the new rules start to apply.”
In theory, Europe thus begins a clear pursuit of Bitcoin and one of its features of technology. But in practice, more work will have to be done for Europe to actually be able to ban wallets, which are “just” computer codes.