European Parliament members have voted to outlaw anonymous cryptocurrency transactions as part of an EU anti-money laundering package.
Members of two parliamentary committees voted overwhelmingly for the new rules, which will require all transfers of crypto, no matter how small, to include information on the source of the asset and its beneficiary, with this data made available to the authorities.
The rules would also cover transactions from so-called unhosted wallets - wallet addresses that are in the custody of private users. However, they would not apply to P2P transfers conducted without a provider.
The requirements are designed to bring crypto in line with AML requirements for normal payments of over EUR1000. The decision to not have a EUR1000 minimum was made because their speed and virtual nature means that crypto transactions "easily circumvent existing rules".
Ernest Urtasun, co-rapporteur for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, says: "Illicit flows in crypto-assets move largely undetected across Europe and the world, which makes them an ideal instrument for ensuring anonymity.
"As illustrated by all the recent money-laundering scandals, from the Panama Papers to the Pandora Papers, criminals thrive where rules allowing for confidentiality allow for secrecy and anonymity. With this proposal for a regulation, the EU will close this loophole."
Industry players had been fighting to sink the proposals. Ahead of the vote, Coinbase chief legal officer Paul Grewal blogged that "bad facts make bad law".
Grewal wrote that the "bad facts" are that crypto is a primary way criminals hide and move money; that law enforcement can not already track these movements; and that requiring collection and verification of personal information associated with self-hosted is not a violation of their privacy.
Claimed Grewal: "If adopted, this revision would unleash an entire surveillance regime on exchanges like Coinbase, stifle innovation, and undermine the self-hosted wallets that individuals use to securely protect their digital assets."
The proposal now goes to the full parliament and national ministers.