For some time now, the European Union has been dealing with the regulation of digital currencies (cryptocurrencies). Two committees of the European Parliament were involved with the European Commission’s bill: The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). On 31 March 2022, both committees voted on the jointly prepared report and adopted it by a majority. Now the European Parliament as a whole must vote on the report. After that, the negotiations between the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission, the so-called trialogue, will begin. The compromise negotiated between these three EU institutions will then, after a final separate vote in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, form the new legal basis for dealing with digital currencies in the European Union. The Pirate Party MEPs from several EU Member States criticise the present report. Their criticisms are summarised in the following press release of 31 March 2022.

Two committees of the European Parliament today approved a shared report on the regulation of cryptocurrencies. Pirate Party MEPs strongly oppose the text, since it would effectively prohibit anonymous payments and interfere with the fundamental characteristics of decentralised finance. The €1000 limit for anonymous transactions proposed by the EU Commission is to be abandoned. All users of hosted wallets will need to identify, as well as users sending unhosted funds to hosted wallets. The report was voted on by both the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and will be tabled to all MEPs in an upcoming plenary session.

Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer, Member of the LIBE Committee, voted against the text and 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 should have a right to be able to pay and donate online without our financial transactions being recorded in a personalised way.

“To disrupt the promising development of alternative and decentralised options in finance in this way is outrageous. We need to find ways to take the best features of cash into our digital future. The Pirates will continue to fight for the proposal to be thrown off the table.”

Mikuláš Peksa MEP, Czech Pirate and Substitute Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), comments:

“Cryptocurrencies remain a very interesting technological option, a promising financial instrument that is distinguished from other currencies by its speed and uniqueness of technological solutions with decentralization. The proposal for mandatory supervision of all the wallets and disproportionate identification requirements would both put immense burden on the services and attack basic rights of the users.

“This regulation would result in users performing even marginal transactions being registered. Instead of supporting decentralised finance and trying to support it in Europe, this proposal would severely damage innovation with no tangible benefit.“

Titelbild: bitcoin by satheeshsankaran pixabay-license via pixabay

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