Cryptocurrencies refer to a system that allows for secure online payments. These can also be called virtual tokens. The online network is distributed across a number of computers and this has also been criticized for being vulnerable and playing a part in illegal activities.
However, it has also been praised due to its transparency and portability. There are now different types of cryptocurrencies all around the world and within Europe. The first cryptocurrency was bitcoin. Bitcoin still remains to be the most popular and the most valuable cryptocurrency.
A cryptocurrency can be used to pay for goods and services. A lot of small businesses and most of the large businesses are already accepting it as a mode of payment. In most of the countries, you can trade the cryptocurrency you own for any other cryptocurrency or for fiat currencies. You can also choose to hold onto it.
The European Union.
The European Union makes up 22% of the entire economic activity in the world. This huge economic role makes the EU one of the world’s economic leaders. The market in Europe is being watched very closely by investors. Any decision that the EU will make about digital currencies will have a huge impact on the global market and on blockchain technology.
Unfortunately for blockchain startups and investors, the European Union does not seem like they will be offering any clear guidance. The EU has been divided on the role they should play in the blockchain and virtual currencies.
Regulators have not declared ownership of cryptocurrencies as an illegal activity, but they have not recognized cryptocurrencies as money for means of commerce and exchange. In simple words, cryptocurrencies are not banned but may be discouraged in the EU. That said, the European Central Bank has no intention of issuing a blockchain-based currency along with or as a replacement for the euro.
How the member states responded.
Individual member states of the European Union have their own different policies and attitudes toward cryptocurrencies that include blockchain havens like Malta and more strictly regulated banking environments like Germany where all accounts have to be registered. The member states have responded with different regulations and initiatives themselves.
Differences in regulations around Europe has made it much more difficult for many blockchain startups to establish themselves in Europe. With conflicting and changing with time, the regulations across the EU, a lot of blockchain startups that started their business in Europe have shifted their headquarters to more favorable countries in Southeast Asia.
However, seven EU countries led by France and Malta, have started an initiative called the Mediterranean Seven. With this initiative they aim to promote the use and development of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
France, Malta, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Cyprus are going to cooperate on education, land registry, mobility, business registry, and healthcare for blockchain companies. While this initiative could simplify things, currently the process of cryptocurrency regulation and adoption in the European Union is divided and almost each country has a different approach.
The future in Europe.
In recent times, European Union has shown that they are planning to regulate cryptocurrencies. However, the legislative processes do take some time. The European Union, along with the rest of the world, knows that the future of finance is digital but it is also important to remove any potential risks that come with the digital world. As mentioned previously, ownership of a digital currency is not illegal.
This could mean that any citizen can be in ownership of a cryptocurrency or trade them online with the rest of the world on tested and proven online trading platforms such as The Bitcoin Evolution (https://the-bitcoinevolution.com/).
The European Union is the second largest economy of the world, it is still behind Asian countries like South Korea and Japan in terms of investment in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
The future of digital currency in the EU depends on regulations and frameworks for blockchain businesses moving forward. If the European Union wants to become a leader in blockchain technology, cooperation between member states and introducing blockchain legislation should be a top priority.