Money & Banking

Spooked by Libra, EU vows to regulate cryptocurrencies

Reuters Brussels | Updated on October 08, 2019 Published on October 08, 2019

An EU Commission official said there was no timetable yet for proposing the new rules

The European Union’s Finance Commissioner pledged on Tuesday to propose new rules to regulate virtual currencies, in a reaction to Facebook’s plans to introduce Libra, which the EU considers a risk to financial stability.

France and Germany said that Libra, whose size would dwarf cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, could limit their monetary sovereignty.

“Europe needs a common approach on crypto-assets such as Libra,” Valdis Dombrovskis told EU lawmakers in a confirmation hearing. “I intend to propose new legislation on this.”

The EU has no specific regulations on cryptocurrencies, which, until Libra was announced in June, had been considered a marginal issue by most decision makers because only a fraction of bitcoins or other digital coins are converted into Euros.

Dombrovskis has resisted regulating digital currencies in the five years he has served so far. He made it clear his change of heart stemmed from Facebook’s plans for Libra, a digital currency that “could have systemic effects on financial stability,” he told lawmakers.

An EU Commission official said there was no timetable yet for proposing the new rules.

Dombrovskis said the crypto regulation should focus on defending financial stability, protecting consumers and tackling the risks of money-laundering using crypto-assets, which can easily cross borders.

Published on October 08, 2019
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