The Crypto Industry Fights Suggested EU Transparency Regulations

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Crypto proponents were successful in convincing legislators to oppose a measure that would have essentially prohibited Bitcoin (BTC) within the European Union (EU).

Robert Kopitsch has been pushing nonstop to interact with European Union legislators in the run-up to a parliamentary committee vote on cryptocurrency transactions.

Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs have been swayed by Kopitsch, secretary-general of the Brussels-based advocacy group Blockchain for Europe, and other cryptocurrency advocates.

The committee will vote on legislation on Thursday that may ultimately eliminate all unnamed crypto transactions in the EU, demand authentication of transfers to individual private wallets, and restrict cryptocurrency transfers between tax shelters and the European Union. 

A majority of parliamentarians appear to favor the measures, which were implemented in response to worries that cryptocurrency could be exploited for illegal operations like money laundering and terrorism financing. The regulations, according to some, are a fundamental privacy breach.

Kopitsch confirmed that “we’re rallying everybody to write to their [representatives], bombard them with tweets and social media, and to give them the feeling that what they’re doing is super wrong. And it’s not so easy, obviously, right? Because here, it’s a more political topic.”

Crypto industry titans like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and EU MPs like Vice President of the European Parliament Eva Kaili have expressed approval for steps that do not provide extensive and overdone scrutiny over the market of cryptocurrencies.

Some in support of strict anti-money laundering regulations for cryptocurrency transfers, such as Paul Tang, an EU parliamentarian and chair of the tax committee, were outraged by the initiative.

Paul Tang expressed that “the #crypto sector demands to be taken seriously yet they refuse to take seriously their role in the fight against criminal money. Their aggressive campaigning only shows that strong regulation is urgently needed.”

Although Kopitsch agrees that oversight is necessary, he believes the proposed regulations are overbearing. He went on to say that “they think that all the transactions that run for crypto are all done by criminals. It’s all money laundering. It’s all child pornography, terrorist financing.”

The head of strategy at Unstoppable Finance, Patrick Hansen has been doing the same seeing as he has been categorically against unhosted wallets being subjected to Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks. 

In March, all the hard work of industry lobbying paid off. With Hansen as the leader, a campaign was launched to influence the vote of the economic committee against MiCA regulations. The Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA), is the key legislation package of the European Union for crypto-asset oversight. Its implementation would have resulted in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) being illegal. 

Even though the vote did not account for the provision, crypto advocates including Hansen are positive that even if it held up in this phase, the final version certainly would not account for it, having discussed the topic with the EU government branches already. 

However, Hansen is concerned that if it passes, the clause on AML inspections for transfers to private wallets would be included in the final version of the legislation.

Hansen said that “there might be a window of opportunity to change minor things, but the chances are way higher that if it goes through the parliament committee on Thursday, and then it’s not challenged, that basically this will just be adopted.”

However, Hansen believes that a proposal advocating for the elimination of the 1,000 euro ($1,100 US) minimum barrier for disclosing cryptocurrency transactions will pass the vote of the subsequent committee.

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