The European Parliament has just published a press release, describing a “move to crack down on [the] use of virtual currencies for money laundering, terrorism“, although that’s not quite what the backstory suggests is about to happen.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs published a report on Virtual Currencies on 3 May, 2016. In that report, the Committee:

  1. Welcomed the Commission’s suggestion that virtual currency exchanges should be brought within the scope of an amended 4th Anti-Money-Laundering Directive;
  2. Recommended a Commission analysis, to determine whether existing European legislation (including the Payment Accounts Directive, the second Payment Services Directive; and the Electronic Money Directive) should be amended, with a view to enhancing competition and lowering transaction costs; and
  3. Called for the creation of a new Task Force to provide the technical and regulatory expertise required by the European institutions and the Member States, when they decide whether, when and how to respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by distributed ledger technology, the blockchain, and virtual currencies.

The European Parliament debated the Committee’s report and a non-legislative resolution today, and it’s expected to vote on them tomorrow. If the Parliament adopts the resolution, as expected, it will make the same three points, in materially the same way, as the Committee. That’s not exactly a “crack down on the use of virtual currencies for money laundering and terrorist financing” purposes, although it might be a small step in that direction. Our blog posts, which chart the development of this story, are available here. We’ll publish a post about the UK’s proposals for the seizure, holding and sale of virtual currencies, shortly.