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Europe Is Cracking Down On Bitcoin To Impede Terrorist Financing

Europe Is Cracking Down On Bitcoin To Impede Terrorist Financing
[Photo: Flickr user Alistair]

Following the brutal attacks in Paris last week, European officials are seeking new ways to prevent future acts of terrorism. One way to do this, they believe, is to make it more difficult to transfer money anonymously and to use virtual currencies like bitcoin, which can allow terrorists to operate under the radars of investigators.

On Friday, interior and justice ministers in the European Union (EU) will hold a “crisis meeting” and ask the European Commission–the EU’s executive body–to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments and virtual currencies and transfers of gold, precious metals, by pre-paid cards,” according to documents obtained by Reuters.

The European Commission announced earlier this week that it was investigating whether or not bitcoin and other digital currencies were involved in terrorist financing, CoinDesk reports.

The most widely used virtual currency, bitcoin, is often employed as a way to transfer money nearly anonymously; it does not require either party to disclose personal information. As a result, bitcoin is often the currency of choice for hackers demanding ransom payments, or for buying drugs on illicit sites, such as the now-shuttered marketplace Silk Road.

[via Reuters]

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