UK plans crackdown on bitcoin


Treasury Crackdown on Bitcoin over Concerns It Is Used to Launder Money and Dodge Tax

By Robert Mendick and Gordon Rayner
The Telegraph, London
Sunday, December 3, 2017

Mnisters are launching a crackdown on the virtual currency bitcoin amid growing concern it is being used to launder money and dodge tax.

The Treasury has disclosed plans to regulate the bitcoin that will force traders in so-called crypto-currencies to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity.

Until now anybody buying and selling bitcoins and other digital currencies has been able to do so anonymously, making it attractive to criminals and tax avoiders.

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But the Treasury has now said it intends to begin regulating the virtual currency, which has a total value of L145 billion, to bring it in line with rules on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financial legislation.

The new rules, which will be applied across the European Union, are expected to come into force by the end of the year or early in 2018, the minister in charge has said.

John Mann, a member of the Treasury select committee, said he expected to hold an inquiry into the need for better regulation of bitcoin and other alternative currencies in the new year.

He said: "These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we've got to make sure we don't get left behind -- that's particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism, or pure theft. ...

The changes will see exchange platforms, where digital currencies are bought and sold similar to a bureau de change, and wallet providers, where virtual currencies are stored similar to a bank, obliged to report suspicious transactions and carry out due diligence on customers. That means the identities of bitcoin users will no longer remain anonymous. ...

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