According to the two European regulators, the EBA supervisor and the market watchdog, ESMA, Bitcoin, ICO and all of crypto-assets, must “at a minimum” be subject to the requirements of the anti-money laundering directive.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Financial Markets Authority (ESMA) each published a report on Wednesday on the regulatory framework for crypto-assets such as Bitcoin. ESMA advocates for new texts to protect investors as current legislation is insufficient.
A publication was issued on Wednesday, January 9 advocating the establishment of an EU-wide regulatory framework to protect investors in crypto-assets, such as Bitcoin and tokens issued in the context of fundraising in digital assets (Initial Coin Offerings or ICO). The European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) have published these reports following a response to the request of the Vice-President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, last March, to evaluate the applicability of the current framework to this relatively new phenomenon, and still modest at the level of financial markets ($ 130 billion capitalization for all crypto-assets versus $ 22,000 billion for the S & P 500)
It was pointed out that the potential of distributed registry technologies (DLT), such as Blockchain, whose “crypto-assets are an application” – implied among others – and do not see any risks to financial stability. But they warn against the risks associated with these assets at volatile prices (-72% in 2018 for Bitcoin after multiplying its value by 14 in 2017) and often illiquid: risk of fraud, cyber-attack, money laundering market manipulation, which must be answered “in a proportionate manner. ”
“[…] a number of cryptographic assets do not fall within the current financial regulatory framework. This poses substantial risks for investors who have little or no protection when investing in these cryptographic assets, “said ESMA President Steven Maijoor of the Netherlands.
“In order to create a level playing field and to ensure adequate investor protection throughout the EU, we believe that the gaps and problems identified would be better addressed at European level”, argues the President of the Authority, whose the seat is in Paris.