European Parliament Bans Anonymous Crypto Transactions

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The European Union has passed stringent anti-money laundering laws that ban anonymous crypto transactions made through hosted crypto wallets. 

The ban is part of the European Union’s expanded Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing Laws. 

EU Bans Anonymous Crypto Transactions 

The legislation, approved on the 19th of March, puts certain limits on cash transactions and anonymous cryptocurrency payments. The new rules ban anonymous cash payments over €3,000 in commercial transactions. It also states that cash payments over €10,000 will be completely banned in business transactions. The ban on anonymous crypto transactions is applicable specifically to hosted or custodial crypto wallets that are offered by third-party service providers. These include entities such as centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. 

This means cryptocurrency service providers will be banned from providing services and custody to anonymous crypto asset accounts. 

However, the ban has faced opposition from MEP Patrick Breyer, a member of the Pirate Party of Germany. Breyer has argued that the legislation compromises individuals’ economic independence and financial privacy. Breyer also claimed that the ability to conduct transactions anonymously is a fundamental right, adding that the ban would have no effect on crime but would deny citizens their financial freedom. 

“With the gradual abolition of cash, negative interest rates and the twisting of money supply at any time threaten card blocking. The dependency on banks is increasing menacingly. Such financial incapacitation must be stopped.”

Risk Of Misuse

The proposal argues that crypto assets’ anonymous nature exposes them to risks arising from misuse for criminal purposes. It further argues that crypto assets do not allow the traceability of crypto asset transfers, making it difficult to identify suspicious transactions. The document also states that anonymity-enhancing coins and accounts that allow anonymization and increased obfuscation of transactions must also be banned from interacting with crypto service providers, hinting at privacy tokens such as Monero and crypto mixers like Tornado Cash. 

Mixed Reactions 

The crypto community responded to the developments in a mixed way. Some stated that they believe the new AML laws are necessary. However, others opposed the legislation, stating that it may infringe on privacy and hinder economic activity. According to the host of the Sound Money Bitcoin Podcast, the legislation could significantly impact donations and the broader use of cryptocurrencies within the EU. 

“Anyone who would like to donate anonymously can no longer do so with the new regulations. In practice it cannot be prevented, but if the donation recipient operates a hosted wallet, the crypto custodian (which is regulated in the EU) could face restrictions from politicians.”

Critics of the ban have argued that cryptocurrency transactions can be traced on the blockchain, unlike cash, which is completely anonymous, and also pointed to the success of law enforcement agencies at detecting unusual patterns and identifying suspects. They also highlighted that virtual assets make up an insignificant portion of the global financial system, and there is a lack of evidence on the volume or frequency of their use for money laundering.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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