Privacy in the crypto space has been one of the most significant talking points this year, with countries looking to improve tracking abilities for digital currencies and essentially demystify the space. France is taking a similarly hardline approach to several other countries as the country is moving to put a clamp on anonymity in crypto transactions.
No Place for Illegal Crypto Activity
Earlier this week, several ministries in France collaborated to issue an order to ban all anonymous crypto accounts from the country. The order had backing from some top policy bigwigs, including finance minister Bruno Le Maire, junior economy minister Olivier Dussopt, and overseas minister Sébastien Lecornu.
In the document, the ministers explained that cryptocurrencies have substantial benefits for the French economy. However, while the government understands the importance of these assets, it is also aware of their mounting risks, especially their use for illicit activity. According to Article 203 of the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation. (PACTE) law, it is crucial for the government to step in and regulate the market.
As such, the French government is gearing up to introduce new legislation to apply digital identification to virtual asset service providers and crypto-based transactions. The document adds:
“This request, which emanates from actors in the ecosystem, will make it possible to fight against anonymous transactions in digital assets while facilitating user identification.”
The ministers added that several global authorities – including the G7 and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – have advocated for preventing crypto-based illegal activities. So, while the government’s regulatory measures will clamp down on areas like anonymity, it hopes to maintain the attractiveness of digital assets.
A Safer Crypto Space for All
Pushing its point home, the press release drew attention to a recent crackdown, which resulted in discovering a terrorist financing ring that had used Bitcoin coupon codes to bankroll its operations. Per a France24 report, police busted a network of affiliates sending money to a Syrian jihadist group.
The report added that since 2019, 29 individuals have allegedly been supporting the work of the Hayat Tahir Al-Sham, a terror organization with extensive links to Al Queda. In a tweet, Le Maire hailed the proposed new regulations as a step in the right direction for improving surveillance and banishing terrorist activities in the country.
The move brings France to the league of countries looking to reduce the role of anonymity in their crypto industries.
Last month, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced a ban on the use of privacy coins like ZCash and Monero from March next year. In its announcement, the agency explained that tracking these “dark coins” has been difficult, and a ban is necessary to reduce criminal activity in its borders.