Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law


Regulating the Unregulateable

Attempts at Crypto Regulation in Europe

Keywords virtual assets, blockchain, tokens, financial services, securities
Authors Zsolt Halász
Author's information

Zsolt Halász
Zsolt Halász: associate professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
  • Abstract

      The regulation of virtual assets has been on the legislative agenda for many years. The elaboration of a user-friendly regulatory system, in particular, on a global (or at least in Europe) scale, is more than likely over the next few years. Virtual assets are a special, unprecedented category of assets, and their emergence and proliferation pose new regulatory challenges in several areas, such as their issuance, the supervision of operations and transactions related to them (e.g. stock exchange services, lending, and other financial activities), furthermore, important issues arise in the field of taxation, accounting, and securities law with the emergence of the blockchain and distributed ledger technology-based securities. In recent years, at the state level, one could also witness comprehensive regulatory efforts and innovative regulatory attempts in certain European countries in various related areas, particularly in Malta, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. This study presents the key elements, objectives, and characteristics of regulatory solutions in selected European countries. In September 2020, the European Commission presented a six-element regulatory package for the uniform regulation of virtual assets and markets at EU level. Accordingly, this paper pays particular attention to the European Commission’s regulatory package, reviewing and evaluating its solutions, main elements, and regulatory methods. Last but not least, I present some related issues that may be considered regulatory gaps that have been left unregulated in both national legislations and the European Commission’s proposal.

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