European Union Rushes to Regulate Bitcoin, With France Leading the Way
European governments are urging regulations that put tighter controls on the use of the controversial cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The plan to crack down on Bitcoin comes due to the perception of its increasing usage in criminal activities such as drug trafficking, money-laundering, and terrorism.
France Takes Lead on Tough Talk
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he plans to discuss the cryptocurrency issue with his governmental peers are the upcoming G20 international summit. Le Maire is proposing the formation of joint regulations to tackle the growing issue of Bitcoin.
Le Maire, speaking on LCI television, said:
“I am going to propose to the next G20 president, Argentina, that at the G20 summit in April we have a discussion altogether on the question of bitcoin.”
European Support Builds for Regulating Bitcoin
Germany’s Finance Ministry embraced Le Maire’s proposal to form joint regulations on virtual currencies. The idea of these regulations, of course, would be to address issues like tax evasion and money laundering so that virtual currencies can’t be used wantonly by criminals.
Several other countries also recently expressed interest in regulating cryptocurrencies, including the British and Italian governments. Furthermore, the European Union also just decided to apply sticker rules on European-based exchanges that deal in cryptocurrencies.
The Brits have been coming out in front alongside the French in recent calls for regulation. Her Majesty’s Treasury released an official statement just days ago, saying:
“There is little current evidence of [cryptocurrencies] being used to launder money, though this risk is expected to grow.”
Le Maire Says “I Don’t Like” Bitcoin
It is unpredictable on how the G20 Bitcoin discussion in April 2018 will go. If G20 members agree to form a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, it will obviously have a global impact.
Le Maire’s comments are overall indicative of French President Macron’s administrative stance — to regulate digital currencies. And the French politician’s concerns are apparently commensurate with the increasing bitcoin price, which just surged past $20,000 USD, making it more visible on government radars.
Le Maire has further commented that, with Bitcoin, there is “is evidently a risk of speculation,” continuing on to say that, “I don’t like it. It can hide activities such as drug trafficking and terrorism.”
It is through this troubling lens, then, that the discussions around cryptocurrency regulations at the G20 might be framed. That could be bad news for all of us accordingly, if the markets don’t well in April.
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Images via Europa.eu, La Croix