Bitcoin users around the world are well aware of how governments will never see eye-to-eye when it comes to cryptocurrency. The Belgian Minister of Justice aims to make the use of bitcoin semi-illegal in the country by confiscating all of the coins in circulation. The plan is to draft a new legislative proposal that would apply to Belgium, and possibly the rest of the European Union as well.
Another Proposal That Makes Little Sense
For some unknown reason, politicians struggle with the concept of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. There is no way to confiscate coins unless the bitcoin wallet owner relinquishes control over their wallet. No one in their right mind will ever do so, as bitcoin is the only asset in the world that puts the owner in full control over their finances.
Koen Geens, the Belgian Minister of Justice, feels he can draft a legislative proposal to ensure people hand over the private keys to their bitcoin wallets. Moreover, he plans to expand the existing regulation related to cooperating with the justice system so it encompasses digital currencies as well. It seems evident this will incur some dire changes for all exchanges dealing with customers from Belgium in the future.
As one would come to expect, this decision is not entirely surprising. Koen Geens is one of those individuals who sees bitcoin as a tool that facilitates criminal behavior. While there may be some truth to that statement, there has never been overwhelming evidence to indicate bitcoin facilitates more crime than cash, wire transfer, or any of the legal anonymous payment tools in existence right now.
One thing that does need to be addressed, however, is the platforms who claim to offer bitcoins to investors. These Ponzi schemes- including the likes of Onecoin – need to be weeded out sooner rather than later. Anyone using the concept of digital currencies in a criminal manner should be punished for their actions. It is expected Belgium may draft the first version of such a legislation, with the European Union taking a similar stance on this matter moving forward.
However, what is disconcerting is how the Belgian Minister of Justice plans to confiscate bitcoin. Right now, it is unclear if this can only happen in relation to a criminal investigation or just randomly. Moreover, drafting a new type of legislation to facilitate this type of behavior may not necessarily be the best course of action either. Until more clarity is provided, it is impossible to tell what will happen exactly.
In the end, it is good to see the Belgian politicians pay some attention to bitcoin, even if their message is coming out all skewed. Addressing the criminal aspect of bitcoin is a positive development, yet “confiscating” bitcoin in the traditional sense will not be as easy as people want it to be. For now, it will be interesting to see how this legal proposal will turn out in the end.
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