A week after the attacks in Paris, home affairs ministers from European Union countries are due to gather in Brussels on Friday 20th November for a crisis meeting to discuss methods of strengthening the region’s response to terrorism.
One crucial item on the agenda is a planned crackdown on virtual currencies and anonymous payments made online and through pre-paid cards.
According to draft conclusions of the meeting, European interior and justice ministers will urge the European Commission (the EU executive arm) to propose measures to strengthen the controls of non-banking payment methods. These include electronic/anonymous payments, virtual currencies and the transfers of gold and precious metals by pre-paid cards.
The most common virtual currency, Bitcoin, is used as an online method of making money anonymously and quickly around the world without the need for third-party verification. In addition, anonymous electronic payments can be made via pre-paid debit cards bought as gift cards in stores.