Crypto assets and fintech industries are the focus points of an EUR 1.1 million fund set out by the European Union’s financial regulator to monitor these innovations.

Objectives

The 2019 Annual Work Programme document was published by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on 27 September 2018. Within it, the ESMA establishes the need for regulatory and supervisory treatment of fintech and cryptocurrencies.

ESMA is an entity within the EU that produces standardized rulebooks for EU financial markets and market supervision. It also works within securities legislation and regulation.

As stated in the key objectives outlined in the paper, the ESMA writes, “Achieve a coordinated approach to the  regulation and supervisory treatment of new or innovative financial activities and provide advice to present to the EU institutions, market participants or consumers.”

Secondly, it adds, “Implement the framework for the use of the product intervention powers provided by the MiFIR [Markets in Financial Instruments Directive]”.

In this, the ESMA wishes to monitor retail investor trends and financial activities and play a “proactive role in market intelligence gathering” where it can provide advice, propose relevant action, as well as “coordinate NCA’s initiatives on market monitoring and facilitating exchanges of best practices”.

European progressions

It was reported by Fortune in early September that the EU is taking its time with regards to regulating the crypto market. At a meeting in Vienna, finance ministers had agreed that regulating the space can wait until the European authorities have completed a “thorough analysis”.

Talks in Vienna appeared buoyantly positive about cryptocurrencies as the European Commission vice president Vladis Dombrovskis declared that “crypto-assets are here to stay” during a press conference.

While being bullish on initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a viable financing method, he also pointed out that numerous risks often affiliated with the issuing of digital tokens and the cryptocurrency markets as a whole.

Despite the skepticism and scrutiny that these branches of blockchain technology often come under, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) appear to be bullish on blockchain.

A recent meeting in Strasbourg, France, saw MEPs discuss the uses of blockchain technology, with many MEPs pushing for legislation sooner than later to avoid “losing control” of new technologies. Furthermore, East European MEPs were looking to establish themselves as blockchain hubs.

Blockchain discourse in Europe is presently revolving around regulation, innovation, and relations with financial institutions; follow these events and more in the Bitcoin News weekly roundups.

 

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