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TD wants tougher controls of online currencies such as Bitcoin

Patrick O’Donovan has written to the Oireachtas Communications Committee asking them to investigate anonymous internet payments made possible by digital currencies.

Image: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

A FINE GAEL TD has called for more controls on anonymous internet payments made possible by digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin.

Patrick O’Donovan has written to the Oireachtas Communications Committee asking them to investigate the matter which he says has led to an “online supermarket” for illegal activity.

Online currencies do not directly identify their owners and although it is possible to track the transactions to individuals, it can be difficult to do so. A Bitcoin upgrade Zerocoin was also developed to make the currency even more anonymous.

But O’Donovan said today that online anonymous transactions are allowing a black market to flourish:

This effectively operates as an online supermarket for illegal goods such as drugs, weapons and pornography, where it is extremely difficult to trace the identity of the buyers. We need a national and international response to clamp down on this illicit trade.

The Limerick TD has also said that he will also raise the issue in the Dáil with both the Ministers for Justice and Communication “with a view to seek assurances that an EU-wide response is developed to respond to the operation of open-source internet browsers which protect anonymity in order to facilitate illegal online activity”.

O’Donovan says that there have been moves in the US to address the issue but that the solutions proposed are only temporary.

Last month South Dublin County Council rejected a motion calling for it to accept payments using the digital currency Bitcoin.

Read: Council rejects ‘premature’ motion to accept Bitcoin payments >

Read: Bitcoin or bit-con? Meet the crypto-currency that’s taking over the internet >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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