The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs voted almost unanimously to adopt its report on virtual currencies today.
The 54-to-1 decision was one of the last hurdles for a measure that could lead to the creation of cryptocurrency task force before it is put before vote by the entire European Parliament.
Speaking with CoinDesk this afternoon, founder of the European Digital Currency and Blockchain Technology Forum (EDCAB) described the vote as part of a larger movement to regulate virtual currency exchange platforms under existing anti-money laundering (AML) controls.
EDCAB founder Siân Jones said:
“It’s a significant step forward that signals encouragement and support whilst recognizing that there are for legislators and policy makers some challenges.”
Jones was one of three industry stakeholders to address members of the Parliament during a virtual currency public hearing earlier this year.
While passage of the report with near-unanimous agreement might be seen as broad support, the decision was not without effort. The original five-page document was eventually accompanied by an additional 62 pages of amendments, according to Jones.
Under terms of the report, virtual currency exchanges would fall under the purvey of existing AML controls and a new task force for overseeing other digital currency-related businesses would be created.
Despite the measures, Europe has long been thought of as having more favorable digital currency regulation than other developed nations, particularly the US.
For example, the European Court of Justice has exempted bitcoin transactions from Value Added Tax, effectively recognizing the digital currency as a means of payment on par with other currencies. By comparison, certain agencies in the US view bitcoin as property, meaning it is taxable based on the difference in price from purchase to sale, even if that sale is in a merchant transaction.
Today’s development comes after the Internal Market for Consumer Protection Committee passed its own version of the report as the rules moves closer to a possible vote in a plenary session this May in front of all 751 members of European Parliament.
European parliament image via Shutterstock