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The European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) sees crypto assets as an indispensable element of European financial technology (fintech) and warns against anti-competitive behavior by traditional banks. A paper, crafted by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, suggests that organizations and entities could issue crypto assets in lieu of money, as a form of value exchange.

The study, however, does not deliver a verdict on whether Bitcoin (BTC) is money. But the authors admit that crypto assets can disrupt the current monetary construction:

“These cryptocurrencies offer technological and operational paradigms that are a source of disruption for the entire sector, including monetary policy and financial stability.”

The European Central Bank has previously warned that crypto assets like Bitcoin cannot replace fiat money and has discouraged Estonia from relying on its Estcoin token as a form of national cryptocurrency.

The paper displays a relatively favorable view of crypto assets and the crypto ecosystem, lining up its technologies among fintech developments in banking, personal payments, as well as financial advice.

What is even more encouraging, is that the document discusses one of the banes of the crypto world: a denial of banking service. Commercial banks have not only denied providing accounts to exchanges, but have also banned money transfers to and from cryptocoin trading platforms. The European Parliament paper sees this as potential anti-competitive behavior:

“Denial of access to the gateways of traditional banking activities, such as payment systems for bank account transfers or card processor schemes, is also a potential anticompetitive behaviour.”

The European Union has strong hopes for the fintech sector, actually putting pressure on banks not to limit fintech companies offering alternative payment gateways. However, it is unknown if the protection would spread to all crypto fintech projects.

Europe is also almost the last region where fiat-to-crypto exchanges are relatively easier. Asia, and most recently India, have pushed exchanges to rely on crypto-only trades, not allowing direct money transfers.

So far, the interest of the European institutions has been exploratoratory, and there are no attempts to directly curb the usage and trading of crypto coins. Europe remains one of the most active initial coin offering (ICO) markets as well, with Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Germany, among others hosting some of the most prominent projects.

Some EU members like Malta and Cyprus, as well as non-EU member Switzerland have crafted special crypto regulations, aiming to attract blockchain startups and digital asset exchanges.