The European Union stands ready to regulate crypto-currencies on its own if risks from the sector are not tackled at the global level, an official said on Monday.
“We do not exclude the possibility to move ahead (by regulating crypto-currencies) at the EU level if we see, for example, risks emerging but no clear international response emerging,” the EU’s financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis said, according to Reuters.
The comment came as a global investment craze over bitcoin and other virtual currencies in the last year has led to wild gyrations in the valuations of the units, sparking fears of a bubble.
“This is a global phenomenon and it’s important there is an international follow-up at the global level,” Dombrovskis told reporters.
The official made the remarks after hosting a roundtable attended by the European Central Bank, industry bodies, and the Financial Stability Board, which writes and coordinates regulation for the Group of 20 Economies, Reuters said.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers meet in Buenos Aires in March, with crypto-currencies set to be on the agenda.
The EU will decide how to address the issue later this year or early in 2019, said Dombrovskis, who serves as the EU financial services commissioner.
Germany and France said this month that, while new opportunities arose from crypto-currencies, they could also pose substantial risks for investors and be vulnerable to financial crime without safeguards.
Markus Ferber, a center-right member of the European Parliament, said a quick EU regulatory response is needed, rather than waiting years for international rules to trickle through.
“In order to make sure that retail investors do not fall prey to market manipulation and fraud, virtual currencies should be regulated as other financial instruments,” Ferber said in a statement.
– Contact us at [email protected]