November 19, 2015—The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris have provoked the most compassionate—and cynical—responses from individuals across the globe. But when it comes to governments’ reactions, emotional decisions made in the wake of tragedies produce mixed, and often negative results.
According to Reuters, the European Union is planning to crack down on virtual currencies in order to tackle terrorism financing.
The plan would focus on Bitcoin, one of the most popular virtual currencies, and the actions could impact innocent bitcoin users across Europe.
EU interior and justice ministers will meet in Brussels this Friday to discuss the plan.
“[EU interior and justice ministers] will urge the European Commission, the EU executive arm, to propose measures to ‘strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by pre-paid cards,’ draft conclusions of the meeting said.”
While EU ministers appear to take a special interest in Bitcoin, the draft also suggests they intend to “curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods” as part of their anti terrorism efforts.
Bitcoin has become quite popular in the past few years. The virtual currency is exchanged without the need of a third-party verification, but what has prompted journalists to claim Bitcoin is a dangerous technology appears to be its somewhat anonymous nature. Bitcoin’s alleged anonymity is something experts have already denied.
According to another report on EU’s plans, Bitcoin is “frequently used as part of criminal dealings, though it’s not clear to what extent ISIS is doing so.” Despite the claims, reports haven’t been able to produce more tangible information on how the cryptocurrency is tied to terrorism funding.
To Chris Pacia, a Bitcoin expert and lead backend developer for OpenBazaar, EU ministers should clarify their accusations before focusing on Bitcoin.
“Most news reports are suggesting that, despite rampant speculation, authorities have failed to prove the Paris terrorist used even encrypted messaging, let alone Bitcoin,” Pacia told VoicesofLiberty.com. “It appears the EU is going to try to exploit this crisis to strip its citizens of even more financial freedom.”
If the plan is merely an opportunistic move to regulate a currency government officials know little about, the only ones who will suffer the consequences are innocent cryptocurrency users, not terrorists or their backers.
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