The Regulation of Cryptoassets

In the European Union we do not have a harmonised approach to regulation. That means regulation differs in each of the EU member states. Approaches range from liberal regulation to harsher regulation, for example in Germany, where cryptocurrencies are regulated as financial instruments. This means that the underlying service triggers a banking licence requirement. The German approach of implementing the AMLD5 – that is the anti-money laundering directive – is quite straightforward. It provides for license requirements for wallet service providers and defines cryptoassets as financial instruments. So far, none of the other EU-27 member states has regulated services in relation to cryptoassets or cryptoassets to that extent. The German legislator intends to go forward to lead by example in pushing for a harmonised approach at the European level. We do expect other cryptocurrencies like Libra to become more important in the next few years, especially in countries with less developed payment infrastructures, such as Africa and parts of South America.

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