Bitcoin can be useful in purchasing thing electronically and its like conventional dollars, yen or euros which are traded digitally and its most important characteristic which makes it different to conventional money is that it is decentralized. There is no single institution that controls the bitcoin network and this puts some of them at ease since it means that a large bank in unable to control their money.
However, money laundering has become a major issue which the British government has been facing and most of the people in the government are of the belief that bitcoin and similar crypto-currencies are used by some to launder money and there is a need to regulate bitcoin exchanges. This kind of measures taken could stop their use as money laundering hubs. The Treasury is of the opinion that bitcoin has capabilities of being used for money laundering and in order to curb the issue, it wants to regulate digital currency exchanges for the very first time, though this would not mean that the government is not in favour of innovation in the nascent technology but the prevention of criminal use of the digital currency.
Anti-Money Laundering Regulation – Digital Currency Exchanges
The UK government released a document with the combination with the announcement of UK’s 2015 budget stating its intention to apply anti-money laundering regulation to the digital currency exchanges in UK. As per the document it would be creating the right environment for legitimate players in the space to flourish though it would also ensure that a hostile environment for illicit users of digital currencies is developed to discourage the users. As per the Treasury it is reported that the Government will be regulating bitcoin exchange in order to stop its use as money laundering hubs. A report published with George Osborne’s annual budget, the Treasury has informed that the new regulation would be supporting innovation to prevent criminal acts of digital currencies and the proposals would be consulted in the next parliament session. It is said that the government would be working with the British Standards Association – BSI for the development of a set of standards which would be helpful in protecting the consumers.
New Research Initiative on Digital Currency Technology
It was also informed by the Treasury that a new research initiative on digital currency technology would be coming up, which would inject an additional 10 million pounds in the area. According to a board member of the UK Digital Currency Association, Tom Robinson, who has been involved in the Treasury’s consulation procedure that `the announcement is significant, which bring bitcoin and other block chain technologies closer to mainstream adoption’.
In the discussion published in February, Bank of England informed that the digital currencies like bitcoin portrayed considerable promise and it showed that it was possible to transfer value securely without the need of a trusted third party. Other queries were also raised by the bank on whether central banks should issue digital currencies themselves. In several developed countries, bitcoin has been regulated by existing money laundering or terrorist financing laws. Traditional financial sector regulation is not applicable to bitcoin according to European Central Bank since it does not involve traditional financial players while other the EU state that existing rules could be extended to include bitcoin as well as bitcoin companies.