EU Commission may consider regulating cryptocurrencies before 2019

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis gives a press conference following the Round table on cryptocurrencies at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 26 February 2018.

EU Commission may consider regulating cryptocurrencies before 2019


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 The European Commission’s will to protect consumers and investors from the volatility of the cryptocurrency market could see a resolution in the form of strict regulation by the end of the year, the Commission’s Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said Monday after hosting roundtable discussions with key lawmakers and industry representatives in Brussels.

“The aim of this roundtable was first and foremost to feed into our upcoming Action Plan on FinTech and on the EU’s position at the upcoming G20 in Buenos Aires,” said Dombrovskis, in reference to the financial technology that describes an emerging financial services sector. “We have not excluded the possibility to move ahead (by regulating cryptocurrencies) at the EU level if we see, for example, risks emerging but no clear international response to the threat.”

Germany and France have already requested that cryptocurrencies be included on the agenda at the November G20 meeting in the Argentine capital, saying they already “pose a substantial risk to investors”.

“This is a global phenomenon and it’s important there is an international follow-up at the global level,” said Dombrovskis. “The type of response will depend on the facts and circumstances around specific cryptocurrencies. Based on the assessment of risks and opportunities and the suitability of the existing regulatory framework for these instruments, the Commission will determine if any sort of regulatory action is required at the EU level.”

Despite what might be interpreted as a sombre warning about the potential downside cryptocurrencies might have for investors, Dombrovskis was quick to point out that he remained positive about initial coin offerings (ICOs), saying the EU – one of the smaller traders of cryptocurrencies – needed to work with other G20 nations to address any potential risks.

A decision on whether the Commission will follow-up with specific legislation targeting cryptocurrencies will be left to the European Supervisory Authorities (ESA). The ESA will examine the implications cryptocurrencies and ICOs have on the financial markets.

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