In a Reddit post, a user shared that his bank circulated a memo instructing them to report anyone who has bitcoin transactions of over 1,000 EUR. The memo reportedly indicates how surveillance works, how the network is monitored and says that some bitcoin exchanges have been unwilling to cooperate with the authorities.
Aside from that, the warning is also accompanied by a Europol report stating that 84 accounts in the country have been flagged as suspect, and 52 are under surveillance and investigation.
Bitcoin Transactions Regulation
Some say that this could just be part of the authorities’ research on bitcoin transactions and cryptocurrency developments. However, the overwhelming fear is that this move towards stricter oversight could erase the privacy appeal of the bitcoin network.
Bitcoin transactions are recorded on a public ledger called blockchain but these don’t contain any information on the sending or receiving party. This has made bitcoin the currency of choice among those who want to remain anonymous while transferring funds, particularly those in the underground markets such as the now defunct Silk Road.
Upon closer investigation, the memo was revealed to be coming from the Netherlands, as the authorities cited were part of the Dutch Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Interestingly enough, Amsterdam is known for being one of the cities that are most open to bitcoin developments.
The poster says that the bank received a list of IBAN accounts that are already constantly monitored because they belong to high-volume traders and exchanges such as Kraken, Bitstamp and BitcoinD. In addition to reporting bitcoin transactions exceeding 1,000 EUR, the banks also have to report accounts that receive more than €10,500 per year (outside of salary) if it suspects that the funds originate from bitcoin exchanges.
The memo indicates that transfers like these could link bitcoin transactions to criminal activities such as terrorism and child pornography.