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    UK Clamps Down on Bitcoin in Fight Against Money-Laundering and Tax-Evasion

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    The UK Treasury is launching a campaign to regulate the cyber currency Bitcoin for its use by criminal enterprises and tax dodgers.

    Senior member of the Treasury Select Committee MP John Mann announced that the UK will be unveiling new measures that will compel Bitcoin traders to reveal their identities and report illicit activities to  law enforcement.

    "These new forms of exchange are expanding rapidly and we've got to make sure we don't get left behind — that's particularly important in terms of money-laundering, terrorism or pure theft," Mann told the Daily Telegraph.

    READ MORE: No Evidence: US Pushes for Investigation Into Terrorist Use of Virtual Currency

    Mann also said that he is "not convinced that the regulatory authorities are keeping up to speed" and urged the Committee to "have an inquiry next year."

    "It would be timely to have a proper look at what this means. It may be that we want to speed up our use of these kinds of thing in this country, but that makes it all the more important that we don't have a regulatory lag," he said.

    The new anti-Bitcoin measures that are expected to be implemented in the new year form a part of the broader push by the UK Treasury to clamp down on money-laundering and tax-evasion in  cyber space and by such tech giants as Google and Amazon.

    A Treasury spokesman, quoted by the Telegraph, said on Sunday: "We intend to update regulations to bring virtual currency exchange platforms into Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing regulation."

    In early October, Economic Secretary of the Treasury Stephen Barclay wrote to the British Parliament that  Theresa May's government was working on a new set of measures to bring the cyber currency that is currently worth some £145 billion under control.

    READ MORE: Bitcoin Increasingly Used to Buy Online Child Pornography – Watchdog

    In his written reply to a parliamentary question, the Economic Secretary confirmed that the Treasury seeks to "bring virtual currency exchange platforms and custodian wallet providers into anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations".

    A single Bitcoin, as it stands now, is worth $11,332.60 and can be anonymously traded by anyone with access to the Internet.

    It is this anonymity and inability to be traced  that allow cyber criminals and terrorist groups to operate more freely in the digital space.

    During the May cyber-attacks on the NHS, which effectively paralyzed thousands of computers and digital devices, the hackers demanded that the ransom should be paid in Bitcoins.

    Labour MP Chris Evans, who campaigns for the tighter regulation of cyber space and Bitcoin in particular, urged the government to take all necessary measures to limit trade in digital currency.

    "We need to crack down on the criminal gangs trading in bitcoins. There is a wild west element at the moment," Evans said, the Telegraph reports.

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    Tags:
    money-laundering, tax evasion, cryptocurrencies, Hack, cyber crime, regulation, bitcoin, UK Treasury, Chris Evans, John Mann, United Kingdom
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