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EU could target terrorists with Bitcoin crackdown

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We’ve seen a number of reactionary security proposals in the wake of last week’s Paris attacks, and now Bitcoin is in the firing line.

European Union countries are plotting a crackdown on virtual currencies in an effort to allay terrorism, according to a new report.

The EU, of which France is a member state, has broached a possible plan to target anonymous online payments, as revealed by a draft document seen by Reuters.

The report claims the European Commission will be asked to propose measures to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, previous metals, by pre-paid cards”.

{pullqupte}It’s expected that the proposals will be put forward at a crisis meeting in Brussels on Friday{/pullquote}, set to be attended by EU interior and justice ministers.

There have long been fears that terrorists could capitalise on the untraceability of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.

Just yesterday, former US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking to Quartz, said: “The real serious problem that [Bitcoin] has is its anonymity, which is a feature, and is also a bug, in that it has become, in some cases, a vehicle for illicit transactions, drug selling, or terrorist financing or whatever.”

Related: What is Bitcoin?

Interestingly, the European Union’s top court ruled that Bitcoin transactions shouldn’t be subject to VAT earlier this year – a sizable boon to the cryptocurrency.

“Many with a vested interest in cryptocurrencies will be overjoyed by the ruling,” said Jens Bader, CMO of Secure Trading, speaking at the time.

Do you think the EU should be tougher on Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments.

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