Members of the European Parliament have voted on the first regulatory framework that will directly affect cryptocurrencies. The Czech Pirate Party opposed the proposal, claiming that it would lead to mandatory registration or identification of cryptocurrency owners.
This will pose a problem, for example, for the funding of dissidents such as Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. His entourage also spoke out against the proposal in response to the pirate MEPs.
“I understand the desire to regulate cryptocurrencies, but in my opinion, the whole discussion is based on a wrong assumption — namely that cryptocurrencies are supposed to work like money in a bank. Cryptocurrencies are supposed to be the equivalent of digital cash. In today’s world, we desperately need a means for anonymous transactions. It’s all about privacy and being able to handle our money without fear of someone else looking over our shoulder. This is a principle that we as Pirates have stood by for many years and we strongly support the right to privacy even with cryptocurrencies,” explains Pirate MEP Mikuláš Peksa, who sits on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Peksa also adds a specific example where anonymity is absolutely a key, namely the funding of individuals such as Alexei Navalny. He and others, including some non-profit organisations, are increasingly dependent on anonymous donations in virtual currencies. Peksa argues that, without private wallets, further support will be very difficult. The NGOs themselves also confirm this.
“As a human rights organisation, the Open Dialogue Foundation is also interested in the regulation of cryptocurrencies and their impact on vulnerable users, particularly human rights activists and those providing humanitarian aid. In collaboration with the Alexei Navalny Foundation and other activists, our organisation advocates for regulators to provide a framework for the use of Bitcoin and stablecoin for humanitarian aid and human rights protection in authoritarian states. That is why we agree with the Pirates,” says Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of ODF.
The revised funds transfer regulation introduces mandatory identification of both recipients and senders of all cryptocurrency payments. The first regulations are expected to come into force in a year’s time.
In other media:
- Tio: Lugano’s Plan ₿. Defending Human Rights with Bitcoin: Interview with Lyudmyla Kozlovska (December 28, 2023)
- WebEconomy: How Bitcoin Becomes a Lifeline for Victims of Repression and Financial Exclusion – Explains Lyudmyla Kozlovska [INTERVIEW] (October 6, 2023)
- ABC: Ukrainians use Bitcoin to resist Russian aggression: Lyudmyla Kozlovska in ABC interview (July 6, 2023)
- Bitcoin Policy Institute: 21 Human Rights Leaders Urge Congress to Learn About Bitcoin (June 7, 2022)