United Kingdom government plans Bitcoin crackdown amid money laundering concerns

United Kingdom government plans Bitcoin crackdown amid money laundering concerns

The UK's Treasury wants to regulate cryptocurrencies further so that they may combat both money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Online bitcoin exchanges operating in the United Kingdom will be legally required to disclose user's identities and report any suspicious behaviour to the Treasury.

Bitcoin now works by anonymous trading, which has fuelled fears that it could be an attractive way of funding illegal activity.

Under the EU-wide plan, online platforms where bitcoins are traded will be required to carry out due diligence on customers and report suspicious transactions.

According to the British finance ministry negotiations over changes to the European Union rules are expected to conclude later this year or in early 2018.

Nicholas Gregory, chief executive of London-based CommerceBlock, which helps firms do businesses in cryptocurrency, said the move was a "stamp of approval" recognising the "pivotal" role digital currencies are set to hold for the global economy.

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John Mann, a member of the U.K. Treasury select committee, told The Daily Telegraph that an inquiry into the regulation of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was necessary given their growing popularity.

"It would be timely to have a proper look at what this means".

Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to Britain's Treasury, told parliament in a notice dated November 3-but only reported by media on Monday-that the amendments "bring virtual currency exchange platforms and custodian wallet providers into Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing regulation".

Bitcoin hit a new high of $11,826.76 per coin on Sunday, surpassing its previous high of $11,300. "It may be that we want to speed up our use of these kinds of things in this country, but that makes it all the more important that we don't have a regulatory lag".

The plan to introduce regulations for bitcoin was first revealed by the economic secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay in late October this year. The government supports the intention behind these amendments.