Global: Bank of Italy to Release Crypto Guidelines Soon, Says Governor

Bank of Italy to Release Crypto Guidelines Soon, Says Governor
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Italy’s central bank is set to publish guidelines on the application of the European Union’s crypto regulations within the next few days, according to Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta. The guidelines aim to facilitate the effective implementation of the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) and to protect cryptocurrency holders, Panetta revealed during his speech to the Italian Banking Association on Tuesday, July 9.

The MiCA framework categorizes tokens into two primary groups suitable for payments: asset-reference tokens (ARTs) and electronic money tokens (EMTs). However, Panetta emphasized that the Bank of Italy has determined only EMTs can fully function as means of payment while maintaining public trust. EMTs have their value linked to a single official currency, such as a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin, whereas ARTs are pegged to multiple assets, like the gold-backed token PAX Gold (PAXG).

In his address, Panetta highlighted Bitcoin and Ether as examples of “unbacked crypto-assets,” asserting they lack intrinsic value and likening them to gambling. He argued that the primary goal of crypto investors is often to sell at higher prices, sometimes using these assets to evade tax laws or regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Clearly, they do not possess the characteristics needed to perform the three inherent functions of money: a means of payment, a store of value, and a unit of account,” Panetta stated. He acknowledged that the number of investors in unbacked cryptocurrencies is currently low but cautioned that this number could increase.

In late June, Reuters reported that the Italian government planned to heighten surveillance on crypto markets to comply with MiCA. A recent decree indicated that fines ranging from €5,000 to €5 million ($5,400 to $5.4 million) could be imposed for violations such as market manipulation and insider trading.

These forthcoming guidelines from the Bank of Italy are expected to provide much-needed clarity and direction for the country’s evolving crypto landscape, ensuring that both investors and the broader financial system are safeguarded.

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