Bitcoin & Blockchain Could Reform European Union Payment Laws

Bitcoin & Blockchain Could Reform European Union Payment Laws

In its final report on virtual currencies and distributed ledger technology concerning the likes of bitcoin and blockchain tech, the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs has spoken about the possibility of revising existing EU payment laws, due to the innovations afforded by virtual currencies and blockchain technology.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) has recently released its final report (PDF) on virtual currencies (VC) and blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT). In it, the ECON lists the opportunities and risks associated with the innovations in the landscape of payments and beyond.

The sweeping pointer-laden report covers plenty of subjects concerning bitcoin (specifically) and blockchain technology and merits a read.

The beginning of the explanatory statement reads:

Seven years after the launch of Bitcoin, the first and most prominent virtual currency (VC), it has become clear that the underlying innovation, distributed ledger technology (DLT) is set to have a significant impact on the financial sector and beyond.

Bitcoin Regulation and Research via the European Commission

Among its many pointers, the ECON acknowledged and welcomed the suggestion of the European Commission (the executive arm of the European Union), to include virtual currency exchanges under the umbrella of the Anti-Money-Laundering Directive (AMLD) in a direct effort to end the anonymity which comes with bitcoin transfers. The suggestion was made by the European Commission earlier in February this year.

In its next point, the ECON urged the Commission to study bitcoin and virtual currencies to then consider revising existing EU payment legislations with the innovation at hand.

[The ECON] recommends that the Commission draw up a comprehensive analysis of VCs and, on the basis of this assessment, consider, if appropriate, revising the relevant EU legislation on payments.

The report specifically mentions the following legislations in the view of seeking to revise them in the future. They are:

  • The Payment Accounts Directive (PAD)
  • The Payment Services Directive (PSD)
  • The Electronic Money Directive (EMD)

The report continued:

[Seek revisions to EU legislations] in light of the new possibilities afforded by new technological developments including VCs and DLT, with a view to further enhancing competition and lowering transaction costs, including by means of enhanced interoperability and possibility also via the promotion of a universal and non-proprietary electronic wallet.

The final report also called for the creation of a distributed ledger technology task force (TF DLT), consisting of technically proficient virtual currency and blockchain efforts and regulators, led by the European Commission. The proposal was previously made in February this year.

The full report is available here [PDF]. 


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