Apparently prompted by the sudden increase in virtual currency trading and the fact that virtual currencies are constantly in the headlines, the European Banking Authority (EBA) issued the following statement on Bitcoin:
“Consumers should be aware that exchange platforms tend to be unregulated and are not banks that hold their virtual currency as a deposit. Currently, no specific regulatory protections exist in the EU that would protect consumers from financial losses if a platform that exchanges or holds virtual currencies fails or goes out of business,” the EBA said in a statement.
Predominantly meant to be a “warning against using Bitcoin”, this statement is a great pre-Christmas gift to the Crypto Coin community. Upon closer inspection, it reveals the official approach taken on the EU bureaucrat level to — surprisingly — okay Crypto payment systems like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Feathercoin and all other similar payments.
In admitting that exchanges and other services are “unregulated”, are “not banks”, and that “no specific regulatory protections” existed in EU countries, the EBA gave de-facto blessing to the status quo but warned that, that being so, consumers needed to look after their own affairs. (What a refreshingly reasonable approach, for once! This is how life ordinarily should be, but we may already have forgotten…)
The EBA’s nod of approval comes as an obiter within the above statement and, sure enough, has been widely overseen by the mainstream media. It has even been falsely interpreted to be “a blow” to Bitcoin. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
The wording “currently” also is a clear indication that the super-state is now starting to move towards forcing its usual mess of regulation upon another area of life on this poor old planet. It may be expected that any results would take at least one to three years before they become effective, giving all parties involved some room to breathe and freely develop their businesses unhindered by unnecessary and cumbersome regulation. Definitely a tremendous opportunity to be seized by Bitcoin businesses now. Worldwide operators of Bitcoin ventures more heavily regulated back home may increasingly be expected to move their businesses to Bitcoin-friendly countries within Europe.