EU Parliament Votes For Bitcoin Privacy-Busting Rules

European Union lawmakers voted on Thursday in favor of a de-facto surveillance regime for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions as the region seeks to gather identifying information on transfers between private, self-custody wallets.

The EU Committees on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) voted to extend anti-money laundering requirements that currently apply to fiat payments over EUR 1,000 ($1,115) to the cryptocurrency sector. However, the rules scrap the floor for payments in bitcoin and cryptocurrency, so parties of transactions of any size would need to be identified.

worrisome consequences.

Brian Armstrong, the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, shared his concerns on Twitter about the new rules ahead of the vote, calling it an “anti-innovation, anti-privacy, and anti-law enforcement” proposal.

in December agreed on a mandate to negotiate with the European Parliament on a proposal to extend the scope of rules on information accompanying transfer of funds of certain cryptocurrencies. Requirements for cryptocurrency transfers between service providers and self-hosted wallets were introduced.

explained to Sen. Elizabeth Warren earlier this month that Bitcoin’s transparency makes it hard for nefarious actors to conceal their activity and enables companies like his to work with law enforcement to trace funds with illegal origins.

Furthermore, the usage of BTC in criminal activity is also not elevated. The phenomenon has been accounting for an ever-smaller share of total cryptocurrency activity, recently reaching 0.15% of total transaction volume, according to a Chainalysis report.

The proposal voted on today by the committees still needs the approval of the parliament and the EU Council to pass into law, per a CoinDesk report.