The EU’s ECON committee is planning a vote on Thursday that could ban anonymous crypto transactions
The proposed regulation aims to crack down on ‘unhosted wallets’ that allow crypto transactions to occur without accompanying personal information
Unhosted wallets are the regular crypto wallets that allow users to access private keys eg MetaMask, Trezor, MEW, Ledger
If successful, each crypto transaction in the EU will require a transfer of personal information, something similar to SWIFT
The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) is reportedly planning a meeting on Thursday in which they will vote on an AML (anti-money laundering) package that will require crypto transfers to include personal information of the payer and payee.
In particular, the draft proposal requires crypto service providers such as exchanges and custodians, to share personal information during each transaction that includes the name and addresses of the sender and recipient of the funds. The requirements are somewhat similar to how traditional SWIFT transactions operate.
This, in turn, means that private wallets, which allow users to own their private keys, will be at a disadvantage as crypto service providers cannot directly obtain the personal information of the owners of these wallets.
These private wallets (such as MetaMask, Trezor, MyEtherWallet and Ledger) are referred to ‘unhosted wallets’ in the draft proposal which recommends the following procedure to obtain personal information from their owners.
The crypto-asset provider to obtain and retain the required originator or beneficiary information from their customer
The crypto-asset provider to verify the accuracy of the information only with respect to its customer and is not expected to verify the required information with respect to the originator or beneficiary behind the unhosted wallet
The crypto-asset service provider should, on a risk-sensitive basis, assess whether a transfer of crypto-assets should be rejected or suspended and whether it is to be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU)
Furthermore, the draft proposal recommends that crypto-service providers notify AML authorities for every crypto transfer valued at over €1,000 from an ‘unhosted wallet’. Crypto-service providers are also advised to refrain from interacting with non-compliant crypto-service providers.
In summary, and if the proposal passes in the EU parliament, every crypto transaction in the European Union, will have to be accompanied by personal information of both parties.
There is, however, a potential loophole in peer-to-peer transactions that do not need a third party to process. For example, a transaction from one MetaMask wallet address to another.