ICOs and Crypto-Assets – EBA Report and ESMA Advice

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The European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published their reports on ICOs and Crypto-Assets on 9 January 2018 (EBA Report and ESMA Advice). Both EU authorities highlight issues relating to the current EU regulatory framework and call for an EU-wide approach to ICO and Crypto-Asset regulation.

ESMA’s advice to the EU Institutions clarifies the existing EU rules applicable to ICOs and Crypto-Assets and provides ESMA’s view on gaps the current EU regulation has in this regard. In order to ensure investor protection ESMA believes that a common approach throughout the EU is necessary and that AML requirements should apply to all Crypto-Assets.

ESMA’s assessment, that certain regulatory areas call for further interpretation or re-consideration of specific requirements with regard to Crypto-Assets, is both correct and gives reason for hope relating to detailed EU guidance in the future.

EBA’s report highlights risks for consumers and money laundering risks relating to Crypto-Assets. EBA also identifies a number of actions that it will take in 2019 to enhance the monitoring of Crypto-Asset activities.

The EU Institutions will take into account ESMA’s advice and EBA’s report and will consider possible ways to address the noted issues.

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