The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) will soon have the power to ban blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT), come January 1, 2018.
Speaking at a London conference called “Blockchain Technology: The Future for Financial Services”, last week, senior ‘risk analysis’ officer Patrick Armstrong spoke [PDF] about the challenges and opportunities with blockchain technology. Armstrong is a part of the Innovation and Products team at ESMA, the Paris-based EU financial regulatory authority that establishes legislation and regulation for European financial markets.
The blockchain-specific conference saw Armstrong reveal how the ESMA came to know about the technology.
ESMA began examining the topic in early 2013 as the virtual currency known as ‘bitcoin’ became a widely-known alternative payment service. ESMA then began analyzing the degree to which there existed investment products that used virtual currencies as an underlying asset.
While these investment products were “marginal” then, over time, the ESMA added that the market shifted from a focus on virtual currencies, like bitcoin, to its underlying technology, in blockchain.
Soon enough, the ESMA was involved in the