European Union is open to crypto, Commissioner says

    20 Feb 2022

    EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said that the European Union is open to digital assets but with fraud-preventing regulation. Regulation and cybercrime in the crypto industry sparked the discussion around crypto at the Munich Security Conference 2022.

    The commissioner spoke at the Munich Security Conference on February 18, 2022, attended by the CEO of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, and Christian Angermayer, cofounder of the Crypto Asset Group. The conference is an annual gathering in Munich, Bavaria, to address international security policy. The cryptocurrency was also part of the discussions.

    “I’m not uncomfortable with digital currencies, but we need to regulate them in a proper way” to prevent criminals and terrorists from taking advantage of the anonymity digital currencies provide, Johansson said.

    By her words, Johansson clarifies that they disagree with China’s stance. Although some Swedish regulators are looking to ban proof-of-work mining, there is no imminent ban in Europe.

    Bankman-Fried acceded that criminals can use cryptocurrencies and emphasized that digital currency exchanges have fortified oversight procedures.

    Angermayer believes that conventional banking institutions often leave billions of people out in the cold. They “often protect their own interests,” the CEO said. He opined that the unbanked billions in the world could be helped by the flurry of blockchain technologies embedded in cryptocurrencies.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco also spoke at the conference. She said that the FBI is investigating ransomware and the abuse of cryptocurrency. In 2021, the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force was established. The FBI seized $2.3 million of the ransom paid following the Colonial Pipeline attack. The FBI is also forming a team designated to operate in the cryptocurrency space. The group is called the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU). This FBI unit will gather crypto experts to use equipment, blockchain analysis, virtual asset seizure, and training to the FBI. This unit will work with the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). NCET comprises prosecutors specializing in money laundering, computer crimes, forfeiture, and regulatory policy to pursue those who use crypto in criminal activities.

    Monaco also announced the launch of an International Virtual Currency Initiative to fight the misuse of digital currency. This effort will allow for more international law enforcement collaboration.

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