Blockchain in the EU policy context

AuthorBellia, M.; Kounelis, I.; Anderberg, A.; Calès, L.; Andonova, E.; Pólvora, A.; Petracco Giudici, M.; Nascimento, S.; Inamorato dos Santos, A.; Rossetti, F.; Papanagiotou, E.; Nai Fovino, I.; Spirito, L.; Sobolewski, M.
Pages39-51
39 3. Blockchain in the EU policy context
BLOCKCHAIN
IN THE EU
POLICY CONTEXT
3.1. FinTech and crypto-assets
At f‌irst, the main focus at t he EU policy level was
on the emergence of crypto-assets and vir tual
currencies such as Bitcoin . In November 2016,
the EC in collaboration with t he European
Parliament (EP) set up a horizont al task force
on FinTech with a dedicated group on DLTs,
following the EP Resolution on virt ual currencies
(EP, 2016).
In particular, the Resolution u nderlined
the potential of DLTs for the f‌inancial sector
when it came to payment s, especially the cross-
border transfer of funds. On a broader scale,
the Resolution also ack nowledged its potential
to transform any kind of data- driven processes
that imply recording of transac tions and transfer
of assets, including for insta nce, clearing,
settlement and oth er post-trade management
processes, crypto -equity crowdfunding ,
and dispute mediation services, in particular
in the f‌inancial and juridical sectors using smart
contracts, for exam ple.
At the same time, while acknowle dging a number
of opportunities and risks, it pointed to the need
for enhanced regulatory c apacity, including
technical exper tise, the development of a sound
legal framework, and the promotion of shared
and inclusive governance of the DLT (for instance,
through the creation of a Dy namic Coalition on
Blockchain Technology at the Internet Governa nce
Forum). Overall, the Resolution wa s positive
towards the potential of DLTs and mainly called
for a proportionate regulat ory approach at EU
level with the explicit goal not to stif‌le innovation.
In particular, the discussion on virt ual currencies
was also framed at the time by on going
negotiations on the amend ments to the 4th Anti-
Money Laundering Direc tive (AMLD), which were
concluded and published on 19 June 2018 as
(Directive (EU) 2018/843). To be implemented
by the Member States by 10 January 2020,
this Directive brings cry ptocurrency exchanges
and custodian wallet providers within the scope
of EU regulation – that is, obligated to imp lement
Blockchain’s
potential across
sectors has been
publicly recognised
and promoted
in recent years by
European institutions
and authorities.

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