EU moves to crack down on bitcoin, prepaid credit cards

EU moves to crack down on bitcoin, prepaid credit cards
© Getty Images

The European Union is cracking down on prepaid credit cards and bitcoin to “tackle terrorism financing, tax avoidance and money laundering.”

On Tuesday, the European Commission cleared new rules targeting anonymous payment techniques. The will now head to the European Parliament for its approval. 


“Today's proposals will help national authorities to track down people who hide their finances in order to commit crimes such as terrorism,” said Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in a statement. 

The new rules will lower the threshold at which sellers must check the identity of purchasers of prepaid credit cards from €250 (roughly $275) to €150 (roughly $165). It will require the same checks in sales of cryptocurrency, including bitcoin, and financial flows coming from “risky” countries. 

Other rules target the anonymity behind the tax avoidance schemes detailed in the Panama Papers

“Making public the information on who is behind companies and trusts should also be a strong deterrent for potential tax-evaders,” said Timmermans. 

The proposals would update the EU’s fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which was approved in May of 1015.