EU ministers are scheduled to meet in Vienna on Friday. When they do, they’re expected to receive a report from a Brussels-based think tank, Bruegel, that recommends EU countries create a common set of rules to regulate the nascent digital currency industry. The report’s authors assert that EU-level regulation of exchanges and ICOs are needed to manage risk and maximize the potential benefits offered by cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.
According to Reuters, which obtained access to the report, the think tank acknowledges that the virtual nature of digital currencies makes regulation of that space impossible. The report focuses instead on areas where regulation is feasible, like cryptocurrency exchanges and mining farms.
The new report comes as the trading bloc anticipates further expansion of the industry in Europe, with some Asian exchanges like Binance reportedly moving operations to the continent to escape China’s recent crackdown. Some member states have also been suggesting that a new regulatory approach may be needed:
Austria, which holds the rotating EU presidency, is asking whether EU regulations need changing to address “potential risks posed by crypto assets” and harness their full potential, according to a preparatory document for the meeting of finance ministers.
The Bruegel report suggests that the EU might need to consider tolerating a lighter regulatory approach for now, to facilitate experimentation while everyone determines the “best approaches to this fast-developing technology”.