The European Commission has announced plans to stage a cryptocurrency roundtable, bringing together high-level representatives from stakeholders across both the public and private sectors.
In comments expressed at a press conference today, Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU vice-president for the euro and social dialogue, said that the meeting will allow public and private interests to discuss the impact of cryptocurrencies on central banking.
Sharing details of the purpose of the roundtable event, Dombrovskis said bringing public- and private-sector interests together at a high level may be necessary to assess the ramifications of the developing cryptocurrency sphere.
“Cryptocurrencies may have ramifications for many other areas, including for central banks. That’s why I intend to bring together key authorities and the private sector in a high-level roundtable very shortly to assess the longer-term situation beyond the current market trends.”
The news comes at a time when several countries, including EU members, are investigating issuing currencies on a blockchain, similar to the technology behind currencies like bitcoin. Among other countries known to be investigating the idea are the U.K., Canada and India.
However, some analysts have suggested cryptocurrencies remain unsuitable as a replacement for mainstream fiat currency, citing reasons from a lack of cohesion across the banking sector to consumer-side issues.
While details on the roundtable event are so far limited, analysts will interpret this as a sign of increasing support for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at the highest levels of the European Union.
During the press conference, Dombrovskis was keen to reiterate that the EU is pursuing blockchain technology research, and that there were many envisaged applications for the technology across the block.
However, he also noted that the EU would take a no-tolerance approach to “unlawful” uses of cryptocurrencies, in step with measures being adopted by governments and regulators elsewhere globally as part of efforts to target criminal uses of cryptocurrency.
The announcement shows the EU engaging with the issue of cryptocurrency and its challenges for the mainstream European banking system.
While details of those expected to attend have not yet been forthcoming, the announcement of the meeting could indicate possible future movement on the issue from the European Commission.
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