In an effort to counteract funding for terrorist organizations after the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, which left 129 people dead, the European Union has put forth plans to increase regulations on bitcoin, prepaid cards, and other methods of monetary transmission that differ from traditional banking.
EU ministers concurred on the necessity to tighten controls on more maverick payment set-ups in Brussels on Friday, Nov. 20, concluding that anonymous payment transaction systems could enable terrorists to siphon money to each other for potential attacks in the future.
More astute regulations would "strengthen controls of nonbanking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments, money remittances, cash-carriers, virtual currencies, transfers of gold or precious metals and prepaid cards in line with the risk they present," according to a joint statement issued the same day.
"Among the sectors under assessment, the use of virtual currencies will be subject to particular attention," stated a European Commission official in a pointed reference to bitcoin, a digital currency used solely online. The commission is the EU's executive body.
The European Commission adopted an anti-money laundering package in May 2015, and as part of it planned to closely look at virtual currencies. It's part of the European Agenda on Security, which outlines the main points to ensure an effective EU response to terrorism and security threats, according to a commission fact sheet.
While the ministers' statement specified the need for stauncher edicts regarding the circulation of bitcoin funds, transfers through cash carriers, and other modes of alternative monetary receipt, they have no concrete plans currently in the works. Instead, the EU high officials called on other EU members to present them with proposals.
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