European Banking Authority calls for Crypto Common Regulation

European Banking Authority calls for Crypto Common Regulation

The European Banking Authority issued a report calling for further research and a comprehensive and universal regulation on cryptocurrencies according to a paper published on January 9.

The document says that for now, the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain activity in the EU remains limited, but it is essential to the Commission and state members to act now before it could hinder financial stability.

Crypto assets are outside the control of the European Union financial services regulation and crypto activities, custodian wallets and crypto exchange “do not constitute regulated activities under EU laws.”

Following that, the EBA highlights that “divergent approaches to the regulation of these

activities are emerging across the EU,” with different countries signing different laws for an activity that crosses internal borders.

“These factors give rise to potential issues,” the paper says, “including regarding consumer protection, operational resilience, market integrity and the level playing field.”

As a matter of framework, France and Germany are about to launch new rules on cryptocurrencies regulation, as well as Spain and Italy are planning to debate rules in 2019.

So, the EBA, acknowledging the fast evolution of the crypto assets usage, developed the paper that works in three different areas:

  1. Application of current EU banking, payments, e-money and anti-money laundering laws to crypto-assets.
  2. Crypto-asset custodian wallet providers and crypto-asset trading platforms
  3. Credit institutions, investment firms, payment institutions and electronic money institutions involving crypto-assets and regulatory and supervisory issues.

EBA’s Next Steps for Vigilance on Cryptos in 2019

In this framework, “the EBA sets out in the report advice to the European Commission regarding the need for a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis, taking account of issues inside and outside the financial sector, to determine what, if any, action is required at the EU level at this stage.”

Also, the EBA advises the European Commission “to take account of the October 2018 recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (and any further standards or guidance) regarding, in their terminology, ‘virtual asset’ activities, and to take steps where possible to promote consistency in the accounting treatment of crypto-assets.”

Adam Farkas, EBA Executive Director, affirmed that “the EBA’s warnings to consumers and institutions on virtual currencies remain valid.”

Frakas emphasises that “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.”

Finally, the EBA published a series of steps that the institutions will take in 2019 to monitor crypto assets activities in financial institutions, including consumer and retail disclosure practices.

Actions like the development of a standard monitoring template that authorities will release to organisations to check levels and types of crypto activities. EBA will also review disclaimer activities and information to customers regarding the risk of investing in crypto assets.

EBA Against Central Bankers

EBA is taking an antagonistic position from some European policy makers, like Ardo Hansson when he said earlier this week that crypto assets were a fairytale and he forecasted the future of cryptos would become “a complete load of nonsense.”

Estonia’s Central Bank governor and a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank Ardo Hansson affirmed that “the bubble has already started to collapse and maybe we should just see how far this collapse goes, and what is left when we have reached a new kind of equilibrium.”

In a conference in Riga, Hansson continued saying: “I think we will come back a few years from now and say how could we ever have gotten into this situation where we believed this kind of a fairy-tale story.”

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