Swiss politicians "declare war" on unregulated Bitcoin
A cross-party parliamentary group in Switzerland have submitted a motion to regulate Bitcoin, an online cryptocurrency, so that sellers can be identified in what the Tages-Anzeiger calls a “declaration of war.” The move comes as Bitcoin is being used as a currency by hackers when they target Swiss and international companies.
Regulation of Bitcoin would be used to identify criminals
Parliamentary group leader and Swiss National Councillor Roger Nordmann said in a statement that “the use of cryptocurrencies for which the identification of the owner is not guaranteed must be prohibited." The motion was submitted to parliament on Monday, with signatures from multiple political parties and members of the general public.
In recent weeks, hackers have targetted several large Swiss companies, most notably Comparis, the health insurance and private insurance comparison site, and demanded Bitcoin as payment to release critical data. According to the federal government, cybersecurity breaches have increased by 30 percent in 2021, with hackers using the anonymous trading of cryptocurrencies to mask their identities.
Swiss parliament calls for strict Bitcoin regulation
SVP National Councillor Franz Grüter said that if Switzerland wanted to keep its good reputation in regard to banking and finance, they would have to provide “strict regulation” on Bitcoin. "Unfortunately, more and more criminals are misusing the currency for extortion and money laundering," noted Grüter, who said it was up to the government to secure Switzerland’s status as a good place to do business.
In response to the motion, the Head of Communications for the Federal Department of Finance, Peter Minder, played down the idea, stating that cyberattacks would not end just because of Bitcoin regulation. "Cybercriminals would find other ways,” said Minder, who claimed the only way to combat cyber-crime was through international cooperation.