EU Plans Crackdown on Bitcoin to Halt Terror Funding

Following the Paris attacks, EU ministers will urge European Commission to bolster controls of virtual currencies and anonymous online payments.

Francesco Guarascio
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A bitcoin ATM machine is shown at a restaurant in San Diego, California.Credit: Reuters
Francesco Guarascio

REUTERS - European Union countries plan a crackdown on virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, and anonymous payments made online and via pre-paid cards in a bid to tackle terrorism financing after the Paris attacks, a draft document seen by Reuters said.

EU interior and justice ministers will gather in Brussels on Friday for a crisis meeting called after the Paris attacks of last weekend.

They 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.

Bitcoin is the most common virtual currency and is used as a vehicle for moving money around the world quickly and anonymously via the web without the need for third-party verification.

Electronic anonymous payments can be made also with pre-paid debit cards purchased in stores as gift cards.

EU ministers also plan "to curb more effectively the illicit trade in cultural goods," the draft document said.

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