The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) has published a draft report on virtual currencies. The draft report contains a motion for a European Parliament resolution on virtual currencies and an explanatory statement by the rapporteur, Jakob von Weizsacker.

The motion for a resolution acknowledges that virtual currencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT) have the potential to contribute positively to consumer welfare and economic development. However, the draft report also notes that virtual currencies and DLT schemes entail risks which need to be addressed appropriately. The ECON suggests that addressing these risks will require enhancing regulatory capacity so that a timely and proportionate response will reliably be forthcoming if and when the use of DLT applications were to grow rapidly to become systemically relevant.

In the light of the rapidly evolving technological landscape, the ECON suggests:

  • calling for a proportionate regulatory approach, while taking seriously the regulatory challenges that the widespread use of virtual currencies and DLT might pose;
  • pointing out the key EU legislation that is likely to apply in line with the activities carried out, irrespective of the underlying technology;
  • welcoming the European Commission’s suggestions for including virtual currency exchange platforms in the Fourth Anti-Money Laundry Directive, and recommending further extending the scope to custodian wallet providers; and
  • reviewing EU legislation on payments, including the revised Payment Services Directive and the Electronic Money Directive with a view to further enhancing competition and lowering transaction costs, including by means of enhanced interoperability and possibly also via the promotion of a universal and non-proprietary electronic wallet.

View ECON draft report on virtual currencies, 25 February 2016