A vice president of the European Commission has said that cryptocurrency assets like bitcoin or ICOs are ‘here to stay’, as it continues to weigh up a regulatory response to the emerging sector within the EU.
The Commission, the EU’s legislative body which proposes new laws for the entire bloc, is currently running a consultation exercise around the governance of cryptocurrencies within the region.
The comments came from vice president Valdis Dombrovskis at a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council last week. At the event, he said member states were keen to support proposals around introducing EU-wide regulations on cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.
“We also had a good exchange of views on crypto-assets. We see that crypto-assets are here to stay. Despite the recent turbulence, this market continues to grow.”
He continued to discuss the potential benefits of ICOs as a format for raising capital, highlighting the rapid growth in the funds raised by the alternative funding model since last year.
“Already last year, ICOs helped raise over $6 billion in funding and this year this figure will be substantially bigger.”
He said the challenge now for regulators was to “categorize and classify” different types of cryptocurrency assets, to determine where existing rules apply, or where new laws may be required to regulate the emerging sector.
“In this context, we are currently working together with European Supervisory Authorities on what we call regulatory mapping of crypto assets to answer exactly these questions…This will provide a solid ground to build on and to decide on further steps in this area.”
The comments are not Dombrovskis’ first mention of cryptocurrencies. Back in February, it was reported that he had said he was bullish on ICOs, suggesting at the time that regulators would have to judge each instance on a case by case basis, while recognising more work had to be done around regulation for the sector.
This could include applying an upper cap to the amount that can be raised through ICOs, as discussed recently by MEP Ashley Fox, for fundraising throughout the block.