Despite the obvious prospects for the introduction of blockchain technology, which aroused interest in many European countries, most of them took a wait and see attitude regarding cryptocurrencies as full-fledged money. This is not surprising, since the future of cryptocurrencies was uncertain at that time. But now, in 2020, it has become obvious that digital money and blockchain have become a part of people's lives and need to be recognized and regulated.
The cryptocurrency market has long been an unregulated structure due to the fact that innovative technology simply did not fit into the framework of what was considered money before its appearance. Accordingly, the laws of states have not and could not be spelled out norms and provisions to regulate what has not yet been invented. Therefore, the governments of European countries watched the development of the cryptocurrency market from the outside, while their citizens were actively familiar with the new technology and introduced it into their lives.
Criminals were among the first to appreciate the benefits of digital money, and this left a stain on the reputation of cryptocurrencies that has not yet been completely washed away. Therefore, the European scenario for regulating operations with cryptocurrencies insists on the centralization and licensing of the activities of cryptocurrency exchanges.
Regulation of cryptocurrencies in the EU countries On the example of some countries, we can see a trend and highlight common features.
Germany has always been distinguished by its interest in new technologies and initiative in their implementation. She legalized Bitcoin back in 2013, and in 2017 recognized cryptocurrencies as a financial instrument. It became the first country to clearly spell out cryptocurrency regulations in its legislation. Purely German pedantry, for sure!
This country was considered one of the most crypto-friendly due to its loyal laws for entrepreneurs. However, recently, the Estonian authorities have worried about the security of cryptocurrency transactions and obliged all cryptocurrency exchanges operating on its territory to register in Estonia, and the registration procedure was complicated.
Another blockchain and cryptocurrency paradise has disappointed the crypto community. Having started the process of regulating cryptocurrencies in 2018, Malta has established itself as a progressive-minded state, but in fact, the licensing process turned out to be difficult and unfriendly to job seekers.
Even stable cryptocurrencies, the rate of which is tied to fiat money, are prohibited from use on the territory of the European Union until all the risks associated with them have been worked out and prevented. Work on this is already underway.
In general, we can see a great interest in cryptocurrencies from European countries, but at the same time a great distrust of them as full-fledged money. Blockchain technology is more trusted than cryptocurrencies as payment for services and goods, and work on its application in various spheres of life is already underway. Let's hope that over time, the position of European states regarding cryptocurrencies will become less suspicious and more flexible.