After calls from high level European politicians in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks to regulate bitcoin and focus attention on cryptocurrencies raised concerns of a crackdown, it now seems the EU has decided to take a softer approach after all.
At a public hearing on “virtual currencies” in the European Parliament a senior financial services official from the European Commission, Olivier Salles, indicated that the EU executive body prefers not to create new regulations specifically for the field. “It’s easy to fail when you regulate, you can be too early and too late. From the European Commission’s perspective, we are more on the monitoring side. We want to understand better what is happening,” – Salles quoted in Reuters.
This suggests that the commission thinks the situation is still too fluid for them to fully grasp where it is going or that it simply fears hasty regulation written as an overreaction to an unrelated terror attack might strangle the European blockchain industry in its infancy.
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The EU also already has laws on the books regarding terror financing and money laundering and its executive body is looking at possible ways to enforce them in the cryptocurrencies space, however “we are not in a hurry to regulate financial products linked to virtual currencies”, according to Salles.
As you may remember, the European statements of intentions to crackdown on cryptocurrencies came shortly after leaders of the G7 nations expressed suspicion that ISIS uses Bitcoin to fund terror operations. They proposed tighter regulation of FinTech companies, such as those dealing in Bitcoin, who help facilitate anonymous cross-border transfers of money.