Speaking at a Fintech Conference in Brussels, Steven Maijoor, the chairman of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), proclaimed his support for including cryptoassets under financial instrument regulation.
“Where crypto assets do not qualify as financial instruments, we are concerned that the absence of applicable financial rules leaves consumers exposed to substantial risks,” he was quoted saying by Roll Call, a Washington DC-based political newspaper.
Maijoor’s statement follows his own agency’s recommendation to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, for cryptocurrencies to be regulated as a new asset class
Maijoor assessed that current securities laws in Europe will likely not cover crypto assets without new rules in place. He also included Initial Coin Offering (ICOs) amongst the financial instruments in need of regulation.
According to Maijoor, a majority of jurisdictions in Europe share the opinion that crypto assets with attached profit and dividend rights, hence comparable to traditional financial instruments, should be regulated.
He then expressed his support for including crypto-to-crypto exchanges under Europe’s money laundering requirements and concluded that “one size fits all” approach to crypto assets regulation is impossible.
ESMA is the EU agency responsible for managing finance across the member states.