I Am Not Anti-Crypto, Controversial EU Money Laundering Proposal’s Architect Declares

Assita Kanko of Belgium tells CoinDesk in an exclusive interview that she just wants to avoid anonymous payments being used for criminal activity. Her assertions are unlikely to sway an industry that has complained about privacy issues and stifled innovation.

“Bitcoin is cool,” a prominent European Union legislator told CoinDesk on the day she successfully shepherded a contentious new proposal out of committee, which some in the sector fear could undermine privacy and creativity.

In an exclusive interview, Assita Kanko of Belgium expressed optimism that her law will mainstream crypto – but admits to being “startled” by some of the responses to her plan.

Kanko’s proposal, which is included in a package of anti-money laundering (AML) legislation approved by parliament on Thursday, would require all crypto transactions to include participant identification, much as major bank transfers do. It would also encompass payments made through privately managed unhosted wallets, which would be controversial.

The EU’s Council, which is formed of national ministers from EU member states, will convene to examine the provision with the parliament. To make Kanko’s bill effective, both the Council and Parliament must agree on the exact wording used.

The legislation has been criticised by major industry players, including cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN), by lawyers who argue that undue invasions of privacy could be struck down by EU courts, and by rival EU lawmakers who argue that the anti-money laundering measure will hurt Europe’s competitiveness by discouraging blockchain innovation.

Bitcoin (BTC) is “very great,” Kanko remarked, “but I don’t believe crime is cool.” “Crypto deserves a more positive image.”

On Wednesday, Fabio Panetta, a member of the European Central Bank’s Executive Board, urged for a reduction in tolerance for cryptocurrencies, which he compared to gambling. Kanko does not seem to concur with such firm stance.

“I am a more sophisticated person,” she said. “I do not believe that bitcoin is inherently evil. However, I believe that individuals utilise bitcoin to do criminal acts.”

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