At the recent Eurogroup meeting of economic and financial affairs ministers (7th-8th September), European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis sent a clear message to his peers: crypto is here to stay. He said: “We see that crypto-assets are here to stay. Despite the recent turbulence, this market continues to grow.”
The message was simple throughout – crypto, its related fundraising and trading methods, and its potential, is not something to be pushed out – but there is more work to be done surrounding regulation.
On ICOs, he said, “In particular initial coin offerings, or ICOs, we see they have the potential to emerge as a viable form of alternative financing.” This will be seen as a massive positive for those involved in the ICO world, as it could probably be considered the most maligned part of the new crypto and blockchain sector.
The second half of the speech went on to address the work that needs to be done in terms of exploring rules – or whether those rules are necessary.
At the same time, we also see risks linked to a lack of transparency, so there are risks for investment protection and market integrity, but also in the form of money laundering, potential fraud or hacking. So we need to continue monitoring the developments in this area, and we need to do so also in cooperation with our international partners at the Financial Stability Board or G20 level. One challenge with crypto-assets is how to categorise and classify them, and whether and how to apply existing EU financial rules to these assets or if we need new EU rules.
However, the good news is that the group is working with European Supervisory Authorities on regulatory mapping – the assessment for which will be completed by the end of 2018. Dombrovskis concluded that “This will provide a solid ground to build on and to decide on further steps in this area.”
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