EU Is Open to Cryptocurrency But With Regulation, Top Official Says

  • Ylva Johansson addresses panel at Munich Security Conference

  • EU more receptive than China but still seeks to prevent fraud

Ylva Johansson

Photographer: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union is open to cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin or a digital euro but regulations must first be strengthened to prevent fraud, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said at the Munich Security Conference Friday.

“I’m not uncomfortable with digital currencies but we need to regulate them in a proper way” so criminal organizations and terrorists can’t exploit the anonymity allowed by some networks, Johansson said.

Lagarde Says Investigating Digital Euro Is Part of ECB’s Duties Her statement made clear that Europe is more receptive than China, which recently moved to ban all cryptocurrency transactions.

Johansson said she appeared to be the “party pooper” on the security conference’s panel by stressing regulation and fraud prevention. The panel was also attended by Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive officer and co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and German entrepreneur Christian Angermayer, who co-founded asset manager Cryptology Asset Group.

Bankman-Fried acknowledged the risks of criminals using cryptocurrencies but said that platforms have greatly strengthened oversight mechanisms.

Angermayer said “financial institutions often protect their own interests” while billions around the world without bank accounts are cut off from the financial system. He said that situation can be fixed by the proliferation of blockchain technologies embedded in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the opportunity to digitize currencies like the U.S. dollar and the euro.

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