EDCAB leads discussions with policymakers in European Parliament
Traditional financial services players such as Barclays and Nasdaq joined leaders from the virtual currency and blockchain world, to meet with policymakers from across the EU institutions in a series of roundtables organised by EDCAB in the European Parliament. Participants were also joined by the World Bank, IMF, the Bank for International Settlements, OECD, the European Securities and Markets Authority and Europol to discuss how to best to develop an optimal regulatory framework for the nascent sector. EDCAB Founder, Siân Jones, moderated sessions on the economic benefit of virtual currency, trusting distributed ledgers and ensuring effective and proportionate legislation.
The roundtable series comes at an important time. Virtual currencies have rapidly risen up the European policy agenda in all the major institutions. Jones, continues “As the only independent European public policy platform for virtual currencies and distributed ledger technology, EDCAB is delighted to be playing a leading role in shaping discussions between industry and policymakers in order to secure a sound regulatory and policy landscape”.
A number of MEPs were keen to participate in discussions and lend their support. Syed Kamall MEP, Chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group opened discussions on ‘Virtual currencies: The future of money’. Kamall commented: “I believe that it is essential that we don’t just discuss these issues behind closed doors but open these debates up to everyone. If we get it right, blockchain and virtual currency technologies offer us many opportunities, not just for institutions but also for individuals and we need to make sure they are part of that debate”.
Eva Kaili MEP, Socialists and Democrats member, hosting the discussion on ‘Blockchain: Trusting distributed ledgers’ commented “The technology is there and the opportunities and challenges must be faced and embraced as a priority. As part of this I have asked for a separate report of the INTA Committee to ensure that the groundbreaking potential of the technology is fully embraced.”
Ashley Fox MEP on ‘Regulating virtual currencies and blockchain: A balancing act’ commented “We look to work with industry to inform us on this important issue. There is a consensus in the Parliament, that policymakers should be careful not to regulate the technology out of existence”.
Speaking after the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee passed their report on virtual currencies with a huge majority, rapporteur Ulrike Trebesius MEP commented "We have achieved a technology-friendly solution to virtual currencies… Europe needs innovation and we need to keep the innovators in Europe and enable them to reach commercial success."
The roundtables demonstrated clear appetite from both policymakers and industry to work together to achieve positive outcomes for the sector. Roberto Furesi, First Vice President of Regulatory Relations and Corrective Measures at UniCredit commented: "Digital revolution has started. The capability of harmonizing ICT Standards will be the key for policymakers to achieve the right trade-off between enabling innovation and mitigating risks." Nicole Sandler, Vice President of Regulatory Policy at Barclays, commented: "One of the key challenges we collectively need to solve is building a global framework that can accommodate the evolving landscape. We need to focus on the applications and use cases rather than the technology. Collaboration between regulators, policymakers and the industry is critical and I believe today's roundtables are a step towards achieving our goals".
Jones comments: "EDCAB looks forward to facilitating dialogue and engaging on all live issues and future policies which will impact this rapidly developing sector. We will monitor all developments closely and continue to build upon established relationships with stakeholders across institutions to ensure the right outcomes for the sector and the citizens it serves"