Following a hearing earlier this week to discuss the risks and benefits of virtual currencies, the European Parliament has published an article setting out some of the views it received from invited experts.

The article acknowledges that virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, and the underlying cryptographic technology, known as blockchain, present a means for financial transactions to be cheaper, faster, more transparent and more secure than traditional currencies by removing the need for a trusted third party, such as a bank, in the transfer of value. Some of the assembled experts, however, raised concerns about the perceived risks posed by virtual currencies and notes the association by some commentators of Bitcoin in particular with money laundering and other illegal activities.

In summary, most of the experts at the hearing were cautious about expanding EU legislation on virtual currencies, with some suggesting that if the European Parliament were minded in due course to legislate in this area, the focus should be on preventing anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.

The European Parliament is currently working on an own-initiative report on virtual currencies, which MEPs are currently expected to vote on later in the Spring.

View  European Parliament shares thoughts on virtual currencies, 26 January 2016