The European Union’s top law enforcement agency Europol recently hosted their 4th conference on digital currencies. According to the agency’s announcement on Wednesday, among the topics discussed this year was the use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as a store of value and as a legitimate payment method.
Europol Discusses Bitcoin’s Legitimate Uses This Year
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) recently organized the “4th Virtual Currencies Conference,” hosted at the Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. EC3 was set up in 2013 as the EU’s cybercrime specialist unit to help law enforcement respond to cyber attacks.
The event, which took place on June 22 and 23, aimed “to further strengthen the fight against the abuse of virtual currencies for criminal transactions and money laundering.” This was also the same theme of the 3rd Virtual Currencies Conference which took place on July 14-15 last year.
However, unlike previous years, Europol has added other discussions to the conference. According to the agency’s announcement on Wednesday:
Another interesting topic covered was the legitimate use of Bitcoin technology, including the use of cryptocurrencies as a store of value, and as a payment method for legitimate goods and services.
Bitcoin Industry Experts Invited
The event was attended by over 150 experts from various fields this year. Many law enforcement authorities in both European countries and non-EU countries returned, but this time experts from the private sector were also invited. Many Bitcoin companies were chosen to attend because they specialize in “facilitating the lawful use of virtual currencies by providing online exchange, payment processing or wallet services.” According to Europol, the industry experts that attended include Bitcoin.de, Bitfinex, Bitpanda, Bitonic, Bitstamp, Bitpay, Coinbase, Cubits, Localbitcoins, Spectrocoin and Xapo.
The announcement states that “the participants shared their insights into criminal trends and the latest techniques used by criminals to hide their financial tracks and cash out criminal proceeds using bitcoins and other virtual currencies.”
EU’s Research on Bitcoin as Store of Value
The EU has done significant research regarding digital currency as a store of value. Over time, their researchers found that bitcoin has increasingly gained more acceptance as a store of value.
A 2015 European Commission report detailed how bitcoin has two features as a store of value, which differ substantially from traditional currencies. They are “non-inflationary supply and cyber security.” The author wrote, “bitcoin is the protection against inflation as a safe haven from government interference.” However, as a store of value, the report noted that “Bitcoin sensitivity to cyber-attacks and thefts reduces trust in bitcoin as a currency and hence impedes its growth and chances of becoming a global currency.”
Meanwhile, The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has noted that “non-payment uses of virtual currencies may include store-of-value products for savings or investment purposes, such as derivatives, commodities, and securities products.” This view has been referenced by the European Central Bank and other agencies.
Then in May this year, the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Internal Policies report stated that “Once trading of the digital currency in exchange for sovereign currency begins, there will be a positive market price or exchange rate.” In addition, the report detailed “With digital currencies becoming more popular as a medium of exchange and also as a store of value, various asset substitutions take place. Households will reduce their cash holdings as they will start to make some payments with the digital currency.”
What do you think the Europol will do about Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Europol
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