European Regulators Want EU-Wide Rules for Crypto

European Commission EU rules cryptocurrency regulators

Finance regulators in Europe have called for EU-level rules to govern cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, in the latest call for firmer oversight of the sector.

The European Banking Authority, an agency of the EU, suggested that the European Commission should examine the need for uniform rules governing the sector throughout the bloc.

According to a statement from the banking authority, this may be needed to protect consumers and investors from unregulated companies, as well as establishing important legal certainty for crypto businesses.

“The EBA’s warnings to consumers and institutions on virtual currencies remain valid. The EBA calls on the European Commission to assess whether regulatory action is needed to achieve a common EU approach to crypto-assets. The EBA continues to monitor market developments from a prudential and consumer perspective.”

In a separate report published this week, the European Securities and Markets Authority explored the current laws around crypto and ICO businesses, as well as highlighting gaps in regulation that lawmakers in the commission should consider reviewing.

The report suggested that some crypto assets could already fall under financial and securities laws in the EU, though it was desirable to create rules specifically with cryptocurrencies and ICOs in mind.

“Our survey of NCAs highlighted that some crypto-assets may qualify as MiFID financial instruments, in which case the full set of EU financial rules would apply. However, because the existing rules were not designed with these instruments in mind, NCAs face challenges in interpreting the existing requirements and certain requirements are not adapted to the specific characteristics of crypto-assets.

“In order to have a level playing field and to ensure adequate investor protection across the EU, we consider that the gaps and issues identified would best be addressed at the European level.”

Both agencies are expected to continue monitoring cryptocurrencies and ICOs throughout 2019.

The move toward greater regulation for cryptocurrency and ICOs in the European Union has been welcomed by cryptocurrency businesses and investors, many of whom still operate in legal gray areas, or within poorly defined and ill-suited legal structures.

It comes at a time of increasing efforts from regulators worldwide to tidy up the legal treatment and status of cryptocurrencies, and the businesses and investors operating around them.