Whenever some global institution publishes a report immediately before an important political/bank/business meeting you can be sure of that well-being of common people is at stake. So first there was the IMF report “Virtual Currencies and Beyond,” where the wannabe regulators indicated the steps needed to be taken for binding Bitcoin.
They stated among other things: “Regulatory responses should be commensurate to the risks without stifling innovation. In this context, an outright ban may, in some cases, be unduly blunt while a more targeted approach (for example, regulating VC intermediaries) may be preferred.
For example, in the absence of central authority in a cryptocurrency scheme that would normally be the subject of regulation, regulators need to focus on other VC market participants. Some countries are presently focusing on the “gatekeepers” (for example, VC exchanges) that serve as the bridge between a VC scheme and broader economy but this approach may need to be reconsidered if the VC market expands. In particular, other VC market participants that operate entirely within the network (for example, VC wallet providers) may eventually need to come under the regulatory framework.”
A few days after the report had been published the annual World Economic Forum has taken place in Davos with Bitcoin being high on agenda and the IMF’s director Christine Lagarde presenting the report to the world “elites”. Only few days had passed and the European Parliament Committee held the meeting on “virtual currencies”. With the exception of several speeches it was more a demonstration of ignorance than something else. Just a non-binding chitchat actually.
The real meat came only two days ago as the European Commission “proposes to bring virtual currency exchange platforms under the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive, so that these platforms have to apply customer due-diligence controls when exchanging virtual for real currencies, ending the anonymity associated with such exchanges.“
Ok, not so bad, you might say. Most of the exchanges have been spying and reporting on their fiat customers anyway, so what’s the deal? The point is that’s not yet all damage to be done. As EDCAB revealed, the EC plans to go beyond bringing exchanges under the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive and intends … applying the licensing and supervision rules of the Payment Services Directive …to virtual currency [exchanges and …] “wallet providers”.
After the directives will be enacted somewhen during the next months, the law can be effective since 2017 probably only after harmonization by the EU states. Now the question is: Will the whole EU become another NewYork’s BitLicense territory?