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Bitcoin Exchanges and Wallet Services Should Get Pan-EU Rules, Says European Banking Authority

Europe’s top banking regulator wants lawmakers to look into creating pan-EU rules for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, in order to give consumers better protection across the bloc.

In a report issued Wednesday, the European Banking Authority (EBA) noted that cryptocurrency activity in the EU remains “relatively limited” for now, so there’s no imminent threat to financial stability.

It added, however, that services such as crypto-wallets and cryptocurrency trading platforms aren’t covered by existing EU-level financial services law and, while they may be covered by some national laws, those rules aren’t consistent across the bloc.

“These factors give rise to potential issues, including regarding consumer protection, operational resilience, market integrity and the level playing field,” the report stated. “The EBA considers that there would be merit in the European Commission carrying out a cost/benefit analysis to assess whether EU level action is appropriate and feasible at this stage to address the issues set out above.”

The EBA also noted that most jurisdictions in the EU lack proper reporting requirements for “crypto-asset” activities at financial institutions, which makes those activities difficult for regulators to monitor. So it’s going to provide a “common monitoring template” this year to make that job easier.

It will also carry out an assessment of the way such assets are being advertised, to check consumers aren’t being duped.

The authority has previously called for exchanges and wallet services to be brought under EU anti-money-laundering (AML) laws, and this is indeed already underway — countries have to adapt their AML laws accordingly by early next year.