back to article Europe wants end to anonymous Bitcoin transactions

The European Commission (EC) wants to end anonymous trading in cryptocurrencies in order to help track terror groups's funding. The EC yesterday published an Action Plan to strengthen the fight against the financing of terrorism (PDF) that says criminals are quick to seek out new ways of moving money that offer lower risk of …

  1. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    How?

    See title.

  2. Ole Juul

    $US

    There's no mention of US currency being used to finance terrorists. I wonder why.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: $US

      Because the US are one step ahead. They passed regulations last year that forces Bitcoin exchanges in the US to keep accounts and records (Coinbase is legit, for example). Those that try to avoid the regs get pursued by the authorities. And they know to be useful you have to get the BTC back to actual currency, so they look for conversion points.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Re: $US

        I think he was referreing to the good ole greenback, Charles.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: $US

          What's saying greenbacks AREN'T being used to fund terrorism? Money's money to most international miscreants: whatever buys the goods. I'm just saying, in terms of the article, that in order to make Bitcoin useful, you have to change it back into real-world goods or currency, which means having to go through some agent. Trying to get it back to currency has limited options, and most of those can be watched, so the better option would be some kind of barter.

  3. simmondp

    What about good old Cash

    So now you will have to log any cash transaction over £5 with your local police station...... or have they forgotten the £63m, the €995bn and the US$1.2 trillion in circulation?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: What about good old Cash

      Any transaction above 50Eu can be logged anyway - the high value notes have an NFC chip.

      1. Kelli

        Re: What about good old Cash

        "Any transaction above 50Eu can be logged anyway - the high value notes have an NFC chip."

        Do you have any proof of that?

        1. DropBear
          Black Helicopters

          Re: What about good old Cash

          "Do you have any proof of that?"

          It's a very insidious scheme. The chips automatically detect any attempts to test their existence and remain silent; also, any of the billions of commercial cash test units in use automatically switch places with a non-NFC capable counterpart from a parallel universe as soon as they detect tampering attempts. Finally, clerks willing to disclose their use of the technology (as well as any parties receiving the disclosure) get a visit from the MiB and have to choose between staying silent or disappearing without a trace. </sarcasm>

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about good old Cash

        As far as I know, they only discussed this.... and they were discussing RFID tags in general, not NFC in particular...

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Numpties

    This really underlines the difference between the EU commish and the EU parliament. The former is in cloud cuckoo land, while the latter protects us from our own government.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Numpties

      while the latter protects us from our own government.

      You forgot to add that our own government inhabits the other wing of the same lunatic asylum as most of the commish.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Numpties

        You forgot to add that our own government inhabits the other wing of the same lunatic asylum as most of the commish.

        In a nutshell, that's why I'm going to find the IN/OUT decision quite a challenge.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Numpties

          In a nutshell, that's why I'm going to find the IN/OUT decision quite a challenge.

          Ditto. Maybe we need a "shake it all about" option?

          1. noj
            Thumb Up

            Re: Numpties

            @Arthur the cat: Thanks for a good chuckle this morning...

  5. paulc

    meanwhile...

    they're not doing anything to trace the billions the Saudi's are funneling to the terrorists...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: meanwhile...

      UAE, ..., USA,..., pretty much every government that hands out money to groups outside their country near as I can tell. "Freedom Fighter" vs. "Terrorist." And it's funny how money given to a worthy cause somehow ends up supporting such groups, usually indirectly (acts as a substitute for logistics usually).

      Meanwhile would the EU & UK quit giving the US Advanced Big Brother training and insights? I'd deeply appreciate it. I'd rather not have to face a proctoscope while conducting financial transactions, thank you kindly.

  6. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "While the plan doesn't offer evidence of virtual currencies being used to finance terrorism..."

    There is a fine line between "let's try to err on the safe side, just in case" and all-out paranoia. Unfortunately, only in hindsight you can map it out accurately.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aspirational

    "The European Commission (EC) wants to end anonymous trading in virtual currencies"

    And I want a million pounds for every unachievable, misunderstood, tech goal a governent comes out with. Neither seems likely.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Aspirational

      Unlikely? Be a consultard for govITprojects!

  8. Christoph Silver badge

    They don't have any evidence that terrorists are using this. But they are going to regulate and control it anyway. Because terrorism.

    Absolutely nothing to do with being able to tax and control and spy on their citizens, with this being a useful excuse. Honest. Trust me.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I note that there's no mention of being able to track crims. Which sort of says a lot about how much the governments are willing to watch out for the little guy. I think they'd have less of the hassle from the informed (like IT, etc.) if they used the excuse "no evidence it used by terrorists but we would love to track and apprehend those ransomware guys."

  9. Bota

    Is this an omission that in fact cash isn't anom? I've seen some "tin foilers" ranting on the interwebs how notes have tiny tiny Kylie size chips in them.

    Maybe it's true?

    Also bahahahaha the US/UK/Israel are funding worldwide terror, pretty well known.

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Why is it always terrorism?

    Anonymous transfers are used for money laundering by organised crime. That alone should be sufficient justification.

    The EC should also be after the ECB to phase out the € 500 note for much the same reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is it always terrorism?

      It's not sexy enough.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All main exchanges that cater the EU market (Bitstamp, Kraken, Coinbase, Clevercoin, ...) already keep KYC/AML records. So this is nothing new for their customers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's about time

    Why did it take so long?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn...

    I told an EU bureaucrat my opinion on how to "solve" an issue, and they did it.

    Obviously I'm a tiny cog in a machine, but still makes me happy.

    NFI how they'll make it work other than to have a separation of clean and dirty bitcoins. Much like the gold trade.

  14. Old Handle

    Seems to me we're confusing two different things. Except for the one quote “The Commission will also examine whether to include virtual currency 'wallet providers'.”, it sounds like they're focusing on exchanges, which are places where people buy and sell bitcoin for conventional currency. For that reason they're easier to regulate and typically less anonymous. It doesn't sound like they're worried at this stage about the individual bitcoin transactions as described by the bitcoin.org quote.

    I don't know good they think would come of regulating wallet providers when anyone can install a client and be their own, but hopefully when they "examine" that idea someone with a clue will be involved.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      "someone with a clue will be involved."

      Triumph of hope over experience!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the Financial Terrorism being conducted by Banks..?

    What are they doing about that - nothing ? Thought so.

    The EU are part of the problem.

  16. BuckeyeB

    Cash Grab

    This is probably all about getting tax revenue, not preventing terrorists getting access to funds. Government entities like to do things "for the children" and "to stop terrorism" so that the majority of people just nod their heads and go along with things.

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