Cryptocurrencies, EU Parliament alert: “Avoid money laundering risks”

The Econ and Libe commissions vote on the proposed regulation: traceability of transactions, stop at the minimum threshold and a register of companies among the novelties. Now the ball to the Plenary and to the negotiations with the Member States

01 Apr 2022

F. Me.

Europe aims to strengthen controls on cryptocurrencies. The Econ and Libe commissions of the European Parliament have given the green light, with 93 votes in favor, 14 against and 14 abstentions, to the proposed regulation that defines more stringent parameters for the transfer of virtual money. The rules are part of a new anti-money laundering package that defines measures to strengthen the rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In fact, there are currently no legislative tools that allow the tracing of crypto-asset transfers and provide information on the originator / beneficiary of such crypto-asset transfers.

Traceability of crypto-asset transfers

Under the new rules, all crypto-asset transfers must include information on the source of the asset and its beneficiary, information that must be made available to the competent authorities. The rules would also cover transactions from so-called “un-hosted” wallets, i.e. a wallet in the custody of a private user. The technological solutions will also have to ensure that transfers can be identified individually.

The goal is to ensure that cryptographic transfers are traceable and that suspicious transactions are blocked. The rules, however, would not apply to person-to-person transfers conducted without a supplier, such as bitcoin trading platforms, or between suppliers acting on their own behalf.

No minimum threshold

Given the speed of transfer as well as their virtual nature, crypto assets easily bypass existing rules regarding transaction thresholds. MEPs therefore decided to remove minimum thresholds and exemptions for low-value transfers.

Public register of high-risk companies

The draft law requires the EBA (European banking authority) to create and manage a public register of companies and services involved in crypto-activities with a high risk of money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activities.

“Illicit flows of crypto-assets move largely unnoticed in Europe and around the world, which makes them an ideal tool for ensuring anonymity - says Ernest Urtasun (Verdi / Efa, ES), co-rapporteur for Econ - As demonstrated from all the recent money laundering scandals, from the Panama Papers to the Pandora Papers, criminals thrive where the rules allow for confidentiality, secrecy and anonymity. With this proposed regulation, the EU will fill this gap ".

"Our relationship has two objectives: to protect and normalize - explains the co-rapporteur for Libe Assita Kanko (Ecr, BE) - We should facilitate the use of crypto assets by people of good will in a safe and correct way, as well as prevent cryptocurrencies are used for terrorist financing, extortion, child pornography or money laundering. We also try to normalize the crypto world as it grows by implementing rules that build trust. More than a decade after the creation of Bitcoin, the time has come to take these important steps for our citizens ”.

The adopted text represents the legislative basis of mandate for deputies to negotiate with EU governments. The EU Parliament is expected to vote on it during the April plenary session.

The hearing of Commissioner McGuinness

The vote on the package comes on the day of the hearing of the EU commissioner for financial stability, Mairead McGuinness, in the EU Finance and Policies committees of the House and Senate. "There is a fear that cryptocurrencies could be used to bypass EU sanctions against Russia, but Ukraine is also using these cryptocurrencies for good reasons. Therefore, we do not want to 'kill' something, because digitization will remain with us - she explained - We must understand that many young people receive financial information not from banks, but from social media. Maybe it's not wrong, but it's something we need to think about. We want to have a big conference on the future of finance by the end of this year. We want the benefits of digitization, but we don't want to be overwhelmed. We have to know what is happening and we have to check ”.

Focus also on the digital euro which is a "credible prospect. On this front, however, she added “we must not speed up times. I believe we have to work well, without making mistakes due to haste. So the digital focus is important and we are collaborating with the ECB to do the right things ". Again in response to questions about the increasingly widespread use of digitalisation, especially among young people, McGuinness stated that “we cannot stop this process. We want to harness the benefits of digitization and innovation but we must be clear that there are risks ".

On how to "mitigate them", you recalled that there are two proposals currently under consideration by Parliament, "on crypto-assets and digital resilience" and "a very in-depth discussion is underway. After the invasion - continued the European Commissioner - there is a fear that cryptocurrencies can be used to bypass sanctions, but Ukraine is also using them for good reasons, so we don't want to kill something, that's not our goal because digitization will stay with us ". At the EU level, you said, "by the end of this year we want to have a big conference on the future of finances. We want to harness and use the benefit of digitalization. We don't want to exclude any sector of our society, but we also don't want to be overwhelmed by digitization. We need to experiment, look for the right and unified path ".

COMMENT: Putting together the anarchist system of the block-chain with the system of national states and central banks is impossible, as demonstrated by meta (facebook) which has sold its entire system of block-chain money. The "right and unified path" that the European Commission is talking about has already been mapped out by us. Adopt our Real Digital Currency system that does not use the block-chain and limit the block-chain to particular uses. Our system is already patented and tested, in 3 months we allow the client Company or Bank to put the new currency in the client's wallets, including employee training courses and assistance in drafting illustrative brochures for the Bank or Company's customers. . Each CBDC of our production does not compete with the others. Each customer can check for fakes. Our Digital Euro can coexist with the Digital Dollar and with our other CBDCs.

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