The chief securities regulator of the European Union has committed to putting cryptocurrency regulation on the top of the agenda for 2018, according to reports.
In its latest agenda published Wednesday, the European Securities and Markets Authority spelled out its intentions for the year ahead, which cover five different areas of interest for the coming 12 months.
Of the five tasks, the most relevant to cryptocurrencies is their desire to monitor developments in financial technologies and innovations, and agency officials have specifically highlighted that this covers the area of cryptocurrency market regulation.
According to the agenda, the agency expects ongoing developments impacting on cryptocurrency markets and indicates a desire to look at whether further action is required on regulating cryptocurrency transactions.
“ESMA expects the rapid pace of financial innovation developments across the EU securities markets to continue in 2018. These developments influence the way in which securities are developed, traded and supervised. In turn, ESMA is undertaking material analysis on the emergence of such instruments as virtual currencies, such platforms as ICOs and such tools as the distributed ledger technology,” according to the agenda.
The move marks the first such occasion, where cryptocurrency has specifically made it onto the regulator’s published agenda, and reflects the growing profile of digital currencies and the desire to regulate these markets from regulators worldwide.
Analysts have suggested this could be an indicator of further action on cryptocurrency regulation within the trading bloc, with the European Securities and Markets Authority already known to be considering the need for a policy response.
As recently as last month, the authority put out a consultation document, looking for public feedback on plans to regulate crypto markets and cryptocurrency derivatives.
Similarly, regulators around the world have been intensifying efforts in a bid to regulate emerging blockchain markets and asset classes.
While there is no suggestion in the agenda that the regulator is intending on bringing forward regulatory proposals, there are some signs that this could be the likely direction of travel for the EU.
It remains to be seen whether the higher profile for cryptocurrencies in recent months, and their new billing on the ESMA agenda for the year, will translate into concrete proposals in 2018.
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