17 March 2022
The European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, ESMA and EIOPA – the ESAs) today warn consumers that many crypto-assets are highly risky and speculative. The ESAs set out key steps consumers can take to ensure they make informed decisions.
This warning comes in the context of growing consumer activity and interest in crypto-assets and the aggressive promotion of those assets and related products to the public, including through social media.
In their warning, the ESAs highlight that these assets are not suited for most retail consumers as an investment or as a means of payment or exchange, as consumers:
The ESAs also warn consumers that they should be aware of the lack of recourse or protection available to them, as crypto-assets and related products and services typically fall outside existing protection under current EU financial services rules.
In relation to the current situation in Ukraine, and with a view to ensuring the proper implementation of the sanctions in place, the ESAs welcome the clarification by the Council of the European Union of the scope of the restrictive measures against Russian and Belarusian entities and individuals as regards crypto-assets.
EBA report on crypto-assets with advice for the European Commission (EC) (January 2019) which, together with advice from ESMA, culminated in the EC’s September 2020 proposal for a Regulation on Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA) and the EC’s June 2021 proposals for the new AML package.
EBA Opinion (July 2014) and EBA Opinion (August 2016) on virtual currencies which, inter alia, recommended that supervisory authorities discourage credit institutions, payment institutions and electronic money institutions from buying, holding or selling so-called virtual currencies, and recommended bringing certain virtual currency actors into the scope of the EU’s anti-money laundering framework (changes that were brought about by Directive (EU) 2018/843 (AMLD5)).
EBA warning on virtual currencies to make consumers aware of the risks (December 2013).