European Union Crypto Discussions To Begin Next Week

Regulators in the European Union are set to begin discussions on a new framework for cryptocurrency regulation next week, according to reports from a senior official of the trading bloc.

Addressing journalists earlier in the week, Valdis Dombrovskis, a vice-president of the European Commission, described how a meeting was scheduled to take place between central regulators within the bloc, as well as relevant central banks, to discuss issues around cryptocurrency regulation.

He also disclosed that significant banks from the private sector would be invited to attend, or “market players,” as he called them, without divulging specifics of exactly who would attend.

“Next week, on (Feb. 26) I will chair a high-level roundtable on virtual currencies. The commission has invited key authorities, including central banks and supervisors, as well as market players, to share their insights ... The aim is to look at long-term trends linked to virtual currencies, and examine if current regulation is fit for purpose.”

The event comes at a time when several members of the EU have flagged the need for further discussions on cryptocurrency, with both France and Germany expressing interest in further discussions over the last few weeks.

The news also comes at a time when U.S. regulators are considering the possibility of expanding the scope of their regulation over U.S. markets, although this has already been indicated as a discussion for the long term.

While it is conceivable that regulators could push for a more restrictive approach to regulation, this is unlikely to have anything more than a short-term impact for investors, given previous support voiced from some senior quarters in both the EU and individual member states.

Indeed, central banks across Europe, including the Bank of England, are already investigating the use of cryptocurrencies for their own ends, and examining whether the technology holds significance for central banks issuing currency digitally in future.

Similarly, there is no suggestion of impending regulation, and beyond discussions with “market players,” little is known about the likely direction of travel.

As the meeting nears, analysts will monitor developments closely to ascertain whether this means the EU is likely to adopt a change of policy in future.