🇬🇧A draft EU Parliament report published today would ban anonymous payments and donations in #cryptocurrencies such as #Bitcoin & #Ethereum. The stated aim to tackle money laundering and terrorism is only a pretext to gain more control over personal data.

patrick-breyer.de/en/digital-c

@echo_pbreyer I usually agree with you. Not this time.

This is not as clear-cut as it seems to be.

Cryptocurrencies (especially the "privacy coins") are not a cash replacement, the power dynamics are different because cash has friction when used in huge amounts that cryptocurrencies lack.

This makes cryptocurrencies (and esp. "privacy coins") way more useful for organized crime, corrupt politicians, and the superrich, than cash could ever be.

The power dynamics are *opposite* to those in case of cash.

@echo_pbreyer let me say this differently: where cash is a boon to private citizens in preserving their privacy from the rich and powerful, cryptocurrencies (esp. privacy coins) are a boon to the rich and powerful in making it more difficult to hold them to account.

The "cryptocurrencies = digital cash" false equivalence is a sham. Be careful what you support.

@rysiek @echo_pbreyer Nonsense. Electronic cash is the same as cash for all intents and purposes, and it's much easier to have HSBC launder your fiat money than it is to launder billions of EUR in cryptocurrency. You do actually have to get in and out of something like Monero if you intend to do that, because you're not going to be able to spend that in XMR or want to keep that in XMR. Which means it *is* perfectly detectable for the worst offenders, while this law would violate privacy for all.

@raucao @echo_pbreyer "cash" and "HSBC laundering" are two different things. You have to get that cash to HSBC somehow first, and that's exactly where the friction of hauling huge amounts of cash hits the hardest.

It then becomes traceable, even if with considerable difficulty. Consider: Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, and other such leaks.

(disclosure: I worked for an investigative journalism organization that was involved in publishing these leaks)

@rysiek @echo_pbreyer As explained, the same friction exists with cryptocurrencies for the amounts you actually want to follow.

@raucao @echo_pbreyer the wet dream of cryptocurrency people is that you pay directly in your cryptocurrency of choice. The idea is that they become actual currencies. And if that happens, esp. for "privacy coins", there will be way less traceability and transparency than even today, even with our current opaque banking system and money laundering schemes.

@rysiek @echo_pbreyer Not for the amounts you are talking about. You will always be able to somewhat follow on-chain transactions of that size.

@rysiek @echo_pbreyer And even then, the regulation is for solving something *now*, which the current regs already fail at.

@raucao @echo_pbreyer again, speaking from personal experience with working on publishing investigations related to this, current regulations are far from perfect, but they still do work to some extent. They should be way better, of course. But without them, we would be even more blind.

@rysiek @echo_pbreyer > compliance costs exceed recovered criminal funds more than a hundred times over, and banks, taxpayers and ordinary citizens are penalized more than criminal enterprises

researchgate.net/publication/3

Even if that's off by a factor of 10, that's highly questionable as an instrument.

@raucao @echo_pbreyer again, I agree this needs to be improved. Not sure what you're arguing for here?

Or are you saying these regulations need to be completely dismantled?

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@raucao @echo_pbreyer let's keep in mind that people who benefit the most from these regulations remaining bad, or being outright dismantled, are the exact people these regulations should target and make holding accountable of possible.

And, of course, the same people that have immense power in the political system, one way or another.

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