European Union states and legislators agreed on Friday on stricter rules to prevent bitcoin to eu laundering and terrorism financing on exchange platforms for bitcoin and other virtual currencies, the EU said in a statement. The agreement is part of a broader set of measures to tackle financial crimes and tax evasion.
EU legislators also backed stricter controls on pre-paid cards, and raised transparency requirements for the owners of trusts and companies. Europe’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said. The EU decision comes as bitcoin’s prices have risen more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year, triggering worries that the market is a bubble that could burst in spectacular fashion. The agreed measures will end anonymous transactions on virtual currency platforms and with pre-paid payment cards, which investigators said could have been used to fund attacks by militants. EU states and European legislators and then turned into national laws within 18 months. It took EU legislators more than a year of negotiations to agree on the legislative proposals, put forward by the European Commission in the wake of shooting and bombing attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016 which killed more than 160 people. The talks dragged on because some EU states opposed increased transparency on trusts and companies, fearing a negative impact on their economies.
The EU lawmaker in charge of the issue, Dutch Green Judith Sargentini, said Britain, Malta, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Ireland were among those opposing the changes. Trusts are legitimate financial vehicles to manage assets but have sometimes been accused of hiding illegal activities because of their lack of transparency. The increased public scrutiny is considered essential by the EU commission and also by rights groups, to prevent financial crimes and tax evasion. This version of the story corrects name of organisation in final paragraph to Transparency International, not Amnesty International. The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. A popular Bitcoin investment trust has ceased trading in the UK after failing to comply with new EU rules.