MEPs call on Commission to set up virtual currency task force

MEPs call on Commission to set up virtual currency task force

The EU Commission should set up a taskforce to monitor virtual currencies to prevent their being used to launder money or finance terrorism, said Parliament in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday.

The proposal, set out in a resolution drafted by Germany's Jakob von Weizsäcker suggests that the taskforce should be staffed by experts in virtual currencies and tasked with recommending new legislative initiatives to curb the threat posed by the use of anonymous currencies in the shadowy underworld.

In passing the resolution, von Weizsäcker was keen to stress that the task force should not seek to stifle innovation, but rather act as a precautionary monitor.

"IT innovations can spread very rapidly and become systemic," he says. "That's why we call on the Commission to establish a taskforce to actively monitor how the technology evolves and to make timely proposals for specific regulation if, and when, the need arises."

The Commission is currently considering proposals to bring virtual currency exchange platforms within the scope of the existing EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which is due for an update. These proposals include a measure which would require the platforms to undertake due diligence when customers exchange virtual currencies for real ones, eliminating the anonymity associated with such exchanges.

Parliament’s proposal, which was passed by 542 votes to 51, with 11 abstentions, will now be sent to the European Commission for consideration.

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