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Parliamentary questions
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29 August 2018
E-003955/2018(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Dombrovskis on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003955/2018

Despite their name, cryptocurrencies are no currencies in the regular meaning of the word and are not legal tender in the EU under the current legal framework. The Commission is aware that cryptocurrency prices increased significantly in 2017 and have been very volatile since then. The market for cryptocurrencies has been showing signs of an asset bubble that exposes investors to the risk of suffering substantial losses. Risks not only relate to price volatility of virtual currencies, but also include governance, transparency and security concerns associated with virtual currency market places. For example, incidents of hacking have exposed safety weaknesses. Therefore, at the Commission’s request, the European Supervisory Authorities renewed on 12 February 2018 their warnings to investors and consumers about the risks of virtual currencies.

Virtual currency market places also present money laundering and terrorism financing risks. For this reason, the Commission has proposed, and the European Parliament and Council have agreed to bring virtual currency exchanges and custodian wallet providers within the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

Virtual currency markets are global and regulators in several countries are looking into the need for supervision and regulatory intervention. However, effective policy responses require international coordination and consistency. This was confirmed at the roundtable on cryptocurrencies the Commission organised on 26 February 2018. As set out in the Commission’s Action Plan on Fintech(1), the Commission will continue to monitor closely cryptocurrency markets together with stakeholders and authorities at European and international level. Based on the assessment of risks and opportunities and the suitability of the existing regulatory framework for these instruments, the Commission will determine if further regulatory action at EU level is required.

(1)https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0109

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