Today, the European Union announced that it will take four years to put regulations in place governing euro-area payments using cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
“By 2024, the EU should put in place a comprehensive framework enabling the uptake of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and crypto-assets in the financial sector,” two EU documents viewed by Reuters said. “It should also address the risks associated with these technologies.”
The goal is to make it faster, easier and less expensive to use digital assets like cryptocurrencies and stablecoins throughout the eurozone by providing a regime of “same risk, same rules, same regulation.”
Doing so, the EU hopes, will not only encourage a wide range of services, but a wide range of competitors as well, the article said.
It’s part of a broader push to encourage digital payments generally, which currently account for roughly one of every five transactions.
Still, the documents make clear that anti-money-laundering and know-your customer rules must be in place first.
The news comes just days after five of the EU’s biggest members doubled down in the war on the Facebook-founded Libra stablecoin project.
According to a statement issued during a recent conference, finance ministers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands said private crypto assets like Facebook should be barred from operating in the trading bloc until legal and regulatory controls are in place.
“The central bank, I mean the ECB, is the only one to be allowed to issue a currency. And this point, it’s something that cannot be jeopardized or weakened by any kind of project including the so-called Libra project,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.
He added that “very strong and very clear rules to avoid the misuse of cryptocurrencies for terrorist activities or money laundering,” must be in place first.