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European Commission considers existing cryptocurrency regulation review

The European Commission (EC) would assess the existing regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and accordingly decide whether regulatory action at the EU level is required, a senior EC official said recently.

The remarks were made by Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis at the roundtable on cryptocurrencies. The attendees, which included key authorities, industry representatives and experts, believed that the EU must embrace blockchain technology to remain competitive, but remained wary of cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

“[C]rypto-currencies…have become subject of considerable speculation. This exposes consumers and investors to substantial risk including the risk to lose their investment,” Dombrovskis said, adding that “warnings about these risks to consumers and investors are important: these must be clear, frequent, and across all jurisdictions.”

Regarding ICO, the roundtable members opined that while it has become a way for firms to raise substantial amounts of funding, there are substantial risks such as the lack of transparency regarding the identity of the issuers and underlying business plans.

Underscoring the need to examine existing regulation, Dombrovskis said:

“[W]e need to assess further under what circumstances crypto-currencies and related services are covered by existing regulation. This depends very much on the facts and circumstances around specific crypto-tokens. Based on the assessment of risks and opportunities and the suitability of the existing regulatory framework for these instruments, the Commission will determine if regulatory action at EU level is required.”

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