Cryptocurrency trading on Binance is set to become less private in certain European countries. The crackdown on privacy coins, freedom of speech and personal finances in the EU bloc has accelerated in recent years, seriously undermining credibility in EU regulators, perhaps indefinitely.

Binance to cull privacy coins

Starting June 26, privacy coins such as Monero or Zcash will not be available for trading on Binance in France, Italy, Poland and Spain. According to a Binance spokesperson, the affected tokens include Decred (DCR), Dash, ZEC, Horizen (ZEN), PIVX (PIVX), Navcoin (NAV), Secret (SCRT), Verge (XVG), Firo (FIRO), Beam (BEAM), XMR and MobileCoin (MOB).

An exchange representative said: “While we aim to support as many quality projects as possible, we are required to follow local laws and regulations regarding the trading of privacy coins, to ensure we can continue to serve as many users as we can,” adding:

“As part of Binance’s ongoing compliance processes, we have reached out to affected users, to notify them that they will no longer be able to purchase or trade privacy tokens on our platform after June 26th.”

An email to French customers revealed that it would no longer be able to offer anonymity for customers in several EU countries due to regulatory requirements.

Undermining privacy

Privacy focused coins like Monero are designed to obfuscate blockchain transactions using ring signatures, considerably enhancing financial privacy and anonymity.

Unfortunately, government overreach over the years has gone from bad to worse, whether it’s obliging healthy, young adults to undergo experimental medical procedures, or to follow ineffective, unlawful ‘lockdown’ procedures despite all evidence to the contrary. Despite these human rights violations, government overreach is often explained away using pretexts of safety or protecting vulnerable groups.

When it comes to financial privacy, the touted rationale follows the same formula, that is, financial surveillance is necessary due to counter-terrorism and anti-money-laundering considerations. However, AML and KYC laws have been proven to stop 0.1% of money laundering transactions or less, per UN numbers. This raises serious questions whether the trade-off is worth it in the first place for ordinary law-abiding citizens.

Additionally, it’s an open secret that traditional banks directly facilitate money laundering through their services, and pay millions in fines every other year. These banks include JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon, among many others.

So are regulators really fighting money laundering, or is this business model too much of a cash cow to ever come to an end?

Ulterior motives

It’s an open question whether the EU bureaucracy is acting in the public interest. This is true of governments around the globe, who have been opposing the adoption of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies and tools citing little or weak data to back up policies. At the same time, the European Union is beating the war drum against privacy rights, with legal experts calling recently proposed bills outright ‘unlawful’.

  • For instance, as revealed by Wired, the bloc is plotting to ban end-to-end encryption on messaging applications, ending privacy for member countries that remain in the union.
  • Another EU abomination is Europe’s ‘chat control’ bill, which has been widely criticised for proposing to require tech companies to scan private and encrypted messages for supposed child abuse. According to legal experts, the bill is unlawful.
  • Just this week, French Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot threatened Twitter with a blanket ban if Elon Musk does not censor information that the ‘disinformation teams’ do not approve.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) entered its final investigative stage for the so-called ‘digital euro’ CBDC project in April. The Central Bank Digital Currency push comes following a set of new directives in December 2022, where the EU set a limit of €10,000 on cash payments while exerting oversight on crypto transactions of over 1,000.

A fail safe against tyranny

Privacy coins are in part viewed as a ‘fail-safe’ mechanism for a historically likely scenario where governments turn rogue, as is the case in North Korea, Venezuela, and CCP-controlled China, among others. By focusing efforts on privacy coins, which in many cases have not gained significant market share in crypto, regulators are revealing their hand and intentions to replicate the dystopian Chinese social credit regime in the EU.

Assuming member countries do not leave the EU all together, a CBDC regime could be enforced if superior monetary options are allowed to become outlawed.

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