Bank of Italy Releasing Crypto Guidelines Amid Criticism

Jul. 10, 2024.
2 min. read. Interactions

Italy's central bank will soon issue guidelines for implementing the EU's MiCA crypto laws, aiming to ensure effective regulation and protection for cryptocurrency holders, says Governor Fabio Panetta.

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Italy’s central bank is set to release guidelines on applying the European Union’s MiCA crypto laws “in the coming days,” according to Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta. This move aims to ensure effective regulation and protection for cryptocurrency holders.

In his July 9 speech to the Italian Banking Association, Panetta outlined the upcoming guidelines, emphasizing their role in facilitating the application of the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA). He highlighted that MiCA identifies two main categories of tokens: asset-reference tokens (ARTs) and electronic money tokens (EMTs), both of which can be used for payments.

However, Panetta pointed out that only EMTs can fully function as a means of payment while maintaining public trust. EMTs are linked to a single official currency, like a US dollar-backed stablecoin, whereas ARTs are pegged to multiple assets, such as the gold-backed token PAX Gold (PAXG).

Speaking at the Italian Banking Association meeting, Panetta criticized Bitcoin and Ethereum as “unbacked crypto-assets,” describing them as having “no intrinsic value” and likening them to a gamble. “Clearly, they do not possess the characteristics that make them suited to perform the three inherent functions of money: a means of payment, store of value, and unit of account,” he stated.

Panetta argued that the primary goal of crypto investors is to sell assets at higher prices, sometimes to evade tax rules or regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing. He acknowledged that while the number of investors in unbacked cryptocurrencies is currently low, it is not negligible and could grow in the future.

In late June, Reuters reported that the Italian government plans to increase surveillance on crypto markets to comply with MiCA. A decree revealed plans for fines ranging from 5,000 euros ($5,400) to 5 million euros ($5.4 million) for violations such as market manipulation and insider trading.

These upcoming guidelines from the Bank of Italy aim to enhance regulatory clarity and safeguard the financial ecosystem as the country adapts to the evolving crypto landscape.

SOURCE: Bank of Italy to release crypto guidelines in ‘coming days’ — Governor

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