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Digital cash: EU Parliament attacks anonymous payments in cryptocurrencies

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

A draft EU Parliament report published today would ban anonymous payments and donations in cryptocurrencies.[1] The €1000 limit for anonymous transactions proposed by the EU Commission would be abolished. Only peer-to-peer payments between local wallets without the involvement of service providers would remain possible without identification.

For the Pirates in the EU Parliament, the stated aim to tackle money laundering and terrorism is only a pretext to gain more control over personal data of EU citizens.

Patrick Breyer, German Pirate MEP and member of the LIBE Committee, comments:

“Banning anonymous crypto currency payments altogether would not have any significant effect on crime, but would deprive law-abiding citizens of their financial freedom. For example, opposition figures like Alexei Nawalny are increasingly dependent on anonymous donations in virtual currencies. Banks have also cut off donations to Wikileaks in the past. With the creeping abolition of real and virtual cash, there is the threat of negative interest rates and the shutting off of the money supply at any time. We need to find ways to take the best features of cash into our digital future. We should have a right to be able to pay and donate online without our financial transactions being recorded in a personalised way. We Pirates will oppose these plans.”

Mikuláš Peksa, Czech MEP for the Pirate Party and member of the ECON Committee, comments:

“Wanting to ban anonymous digital payments in order to fight crime is short-sighted and may even further illegal activities. For criminals it is not difficult to switch to non-EU wallet services, which of course will not implement these rules. For innocent EU citizens, on the other hand, who are dependent on the protection of their anonymity on the internet, partly for professional or social reasons, it means risking the disclosure of their identity in the future. Once again, those who suffer the most from supposedly well-intentioned laws are those who are actually supposed to be protected by them. Moreover, the blockchain system used for money transfers with cryptocurrencies already makes it possible to detect unusual patterns and processes of organised crime.”