The European Commission is gearing up to propose new penalties for cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies.
In a release yesterday, the European Union's executive arm outlined its intent to introduce a new directive focused on digital crimes, citing recent ransomware attacks in the region and abroad. Part of that plan would involve the creation of a European cybersecurity agency to spearhead such efforts.
Included in the proposal is a plan to beef up punishments for those involved in related cybercrimes, including ransomware attacks.
The commission said:
That the EU's leadership would move in this direction is perhaps unsurprising given past moves to regulate the bloc's cryptocurrency startups more closely.
Further, possible changes to EU regulations related to cryptocurrencies could extend beyond crimes involving ransomware, additional public documents show. In a separate release outlining "non-cash payment fraud" in the EU, officials said that existing statutes aren't equipped to account for crimes involving the tech.
"The current rules on criminalization of non-cash payment fraud are set out in the Council Framework Decision 2001/413/JHA dating back to 2001," the document states. "It has become clear that those rules no longer reflect today’s realities and do not sufficiently address new challenges and technological developments such as virtual currencies and mobile payments."
EU flags image via Shutterstock
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.