European Commission to Assess Bitcoin’s Role in Terrorist Financing

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The European Commission said today it is assessing whether digital currencies like bitcoin fuel terrorist financing and money laundering as part of a new security report.

In a 17th November memo, the Commission outlined its view of the state of security in the European Union (EU), a publication that comes days after more than 100 people died in a series of attacks in Paris, France.

According to the memo, the Commission is investigating terrorism financing risks in the EU following the adoption of an anti-money laundering framework earlier this year, a process it said will pay “particular attention” to digital currencies.

The memo stated:

“Among the sectors under assessment, the use of virtual currencies will be subject to particular attention, as requested by the European Council of 26th January, 2015.”

Following the review period, the Commission said it will release a series of measures designed to address the risks identified during the assessment. This is expected to be completed by June 2017.

“Member states will have to comply with such measures or explain the reasons why they ask for derogations,” the memo read.

It goes on to outline the Commission’s plan to create a blacklist comprising “a list of countries which present some deficiencies in their anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing regimes” and would be subject to expanded financial monitoring.

The assessment and forthcoming recommendations follow the adoption of AML and terrorism financing measures in May of this year.

Though no elements of that proposal relate specifically to digital currencies, aspects that pertain to money exchange services will likely be applied to firms that offer digital currency services.

According to the Commission, the goal of this framework is to “ensure full traceability of fund transfers both within the EU and to and from the EU”.

Hat tip: Tuur Demeester

Map image via Shutterstock

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