ESMA to Push for Crypto Regulations in EU Markets

The agency is concerned with the rising cyber threats targeting retail customers.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on Thursday announced its intentions to focus on the data security of the financial industry, especially for crypto assets.

In its Strategic Orientation for 2020-22, the regulatory agency also revealed its plan to bring a legal framework for digital currencies.

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“ESMA will [..], together with NCAs, also require EU market participants to acknowledge the risks that may stem from digitalization by ensuring business continuity and the use of adequate and up-to-date technology, as well as adequate protection against cyberthreats, and through proper data protection and data quality management,” the paper stated.

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“The dangers of cyberthreats to the financial system as a whole and a sound legal framework for crypto-assets are increasingly becoming areas of focus for ESMA together with the other ESAs, the ESRB, the ECB, and the European Commission.”

Retail customers are most affected

As mentioned by the regulator, it planned the activities for the coming years based on the challenges faced by the EU, its citizens, and capital markets. It will also focus on developing a large retail investor base to support the CMU, promoting sustainable finance and long-term oriented markets, dealing with the opportunities and risks posed by digitalization, the EU’s role in international finance, and ensuring a proportionate approach to regulation.

The European agency had already been watching the digital asset industry for a while, as last year it issued an advisory on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto-assets, highlighting that some crypto-assets may qualify as MiFID financial instruments.

“The new Strategic Orientation sets out how we will exercise our new powers, and meet our new responsibilities, in pursuit of our mission of enhancing investor protection and promoting stable and orderly financial markets in the EU,” Steven Maijoor, the chairperson of the regulatory agency, said.

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