On September 29, 2017, the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs published a draft report proposing controls on cash entering or leaving the European Union. In one section of the report, the committees proposed an amendment to recital 12. European Union customs officials, they wrote, “lack sufficient resources” to monitor virtual currencies.
Some virtual currencies, like Zcash, offer a high degree of anonymity, shielding the identities of senders and receivers as well as concealing amounts transacted. Understandably, this makes it very difficult – nigh impossible – for authorities to trace the flow of money. The Parliament’s concern likely stems from the possibility of money laundering and terrorist financing via virtual currencies.
In June 2017, the European Commission published a report to the European Parliament that considered the potential threats of virtual currency. “Emerging products – such as crowdfunding platforms and virtual currencies – appear to be significantly exposed to ML/TF [money laundering/terrorist financing] risks,” wrote the Commission.
Across the pond, US government agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement have begun investing in anti-money laundering software provided by Chainalysis. This wouldn’t be a catch-all solution, but European officials may want to consider a similar strategy to bolster oversight and allay fears.