Coinbase Urges the Public to Oppose EU Vote Targeting Crypto Wallets

The crypto exchange of Coinbase, through its Chief Legal Officer, Paul Grewal, has urged the public to oppose the proposal by the EU parliament, forcing crypto service providers to collect personal details during all transactions including those from non-custodial crypto wallets (those that provide users with private keys).

The EU’s ECON committee is reportedly planning to vote on the proposal this Thursday, March 31st.

Mr. Grewal pointed out that the EU parliament is probably working with bad facts that could result in the passing of bad laws. He also added that the EU proposal could unleash a surveillance regime that will stifle innovations and undermine self-hosted wallets. He said:

Bad facts make bad law.

We see this in jurisdictions all over the world, especially when it comes to digital assets.

Unfortunately, we are about to see this again — this time in the European Union — in the form of a revision to the Transfer of Funds Regulation.

If adopted, this revision would unleash an entire surveillance regime on exchanges like Coinbase, stifle innovation, and undermine the self-hosted wallets that individuals use to securely protect their digital assets. The vote will likely take place this week so time is running out.

Bad Facts Damaging the Crypto Industry

Coinbase’s CLO tabulated the following bad facts, about Bitcoin and crypto, that have continued to damage the reputation of the industry.

  • Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets are used by criminals to hide and move money
  • There is no way to track crypto transactions, even for law enforcement
  • Collection and verifying personal information from self-custody wallets is not a violation of privacy

Cash Transactions are Easier to Hide

In addition, Mr. Grewal highlighted that crypto transactions were easier to track than cash transactions. This is based on the fact that crypto transactions are recorded on the respective blockchain ledger. These records are permanent (immutable) and can be traced by law enforcement using advanced analytics tools.

A good example is the recent arrest of suspects connected with the attempted laundering of $3.6 billion Bitcoin (BTC) hacked from Bitfinex in 2016.

We Must Speak With One Strong Voice Against the EU Proposal

In his concluding remarks, the CLO of Coinbase urged crypto users who ‘care about protecting the privacy of individuals, to ‘speak with one strong voice against this proposal before it is too late’.

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