‘EU crackdown on bitcoin is attempt to protect banks’

Monday, December 18, 2017
By Paul Martin

18 Dec, 2017

If we have something that decentralizes the money supply and threatens the business model of the banks, there’s going to be pushback against it, claims former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon.

The European Union agreed on Friday to stricter regulations to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism using bitcoin exchange platforms.

“Today’s agreement will bring more transparency to improve the prevention of money laundering and to cut off terrorist financing,” Europe’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said.

RT discussed the issue with Annie Machon, a former MI5 intelligence officer, and Paul Rosenberg, a founder of Cryptohippie and CEO of Cryptohippie USA.

RT: The EU regulations on cryptocurrency come into effect in 18 months, but how necessary are these strict measures in the current cryptocurrency climate?

Annie Machon: I think we have a situation where any new form of technology on the internet, we’ve seen this for the last 30 years, that challenges the business models of established businesses is going to be cracked down on by governments, by international organizations to try and protect the old business models.

I think that is what we are seeing here; we saw it with the huge legal fight that went on with the release of PGP encryption (Pretty Good Privacy) on the internet 25-30 years ago. And we have seen it again in the attack on the old business model of the old media where piracy became the new threat and they tried to use laws to stamp that out. I think that is inevitable, if we have something that decentralizes the money supply and threatens the business model of the banks, of course, there’s going to be pushback against it.

RT: Under the new EU legislation on tightening regulation, are governments trying to discredit users of cryptocurrencies by labeling them all as ‘money launderers’?

AM: It is inevitable. Any crackdown on our rights of privacy on the internet always has an excuse that it is trying to stop money laundering or trying to stop terrorism or pedophiles or whatever. I think, probably the vast majority of users of bitcoin are doing it legitimately, they just have a legitimate concern to uphold their right to privacy as well. Yes, sure, criminals are going to use this, but criminals already use banks. So many banks have been caught out money laundering on vast scales and have received vast fines for laundering gray and black money from particularly the drug trade. Perhaps, we should say that the EU should close down our banks, too.

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