2017年12月18日，一位欧盟议员Pierre Moscovici接受彭博社采访时说道，欧盟并没指望监管比特币。该议员的论调看起来与之前欧盟一系列信息并不符合。在两天以后，Moscovici的说法被欧洲委员会（欧盟的行政部门）副主席Vldis Dombrovskis驳回。他对布鲁塞尔的记者说道：
2018年1月，欧洲出现了要求严格监管加密货币的呼声。2018年1月15日，法国经济部长Bruno Le Maire宣布成立一支工作小组，其目的是进行加密货币的监管。同样，德意志联邦银行的董事会成员之一Joachim Wuermeling，呼吁在全球范围内对虚拟货币进行有效的监管。
2018年1月22日，Dombrovskis提到了三个警惕比特币泡沫的欧盟监管者，并对加密货币监管计划进行了完善。2018年1月25日，受围攻的英国首相Theressa may 加入了这一争论，响应了国际货币基金组织主席Christine Lagarde以及美国总统Donald Trump的言论。
瑞士经济部长Johann Schneider-Ammann于2018年1月18日告诉记者，他希望瑞士能成为"加密货币之国。"根据《金融时报》的一篇文章，瑞士财政部的国务秘书Jörg Gasser说到，"我们希望ICO市场更加繁荣，不过前提是行业标准不妥协或者金融市场完整。"
If 2017 was the year of the ICO, it seems as if 2018 is destined to become the year of regulatory reckoning.
Things have already begun to heat up as countries around the world grapple with cryptocurrencies and try to determine how they are going to treat them. Some are welcoming, others are cautious. And some countries are downright antagonistic.
United Kingdom/European Union
While Brexit is scheduled to force the U.K. and the European Union to part ways in March 2019, the United Kingdom and the EU remain united in their plans to regulate cryptocurrencies. On December 4, 2017, The Guardian and The Telegraph reported that the U.K. Treasury and the EU both had made plans aimed at ending anonymity for cryptocurrency traders, citing anti-money laundering and tax evasion crackdowns.
The European Union plan would require cryptocurrency platforms to conduct proper due diligence on customers and report any suspicious transactions. Likewise, the Treasury of the United Kingdom stated that they are “working to address concerns about the use of cryptocurrencies by negotiating to bring virtual currency exchange platforms and some wallet providers within anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation.”
The Treasury did, however, add that “there is little current evidence of [cryptocurrencies] being used to launder money, though this risk is expected to grow.”
While one European Union commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, stated in an interview with Bloomberg on December 18, 2017, that the EU was not looking to regulate bitcoin, the commissioner’s statements seemed out of sync with prior and consequential messaging. Two days later, Moscovici’s message was seemingly countermanded by Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission (the Executive for the European Union), when he told reporters in Brussels that:
There are clear risks for investors and consumers associated to price volatility, including the risk of complete loss of investment, operational and security failures, market manipulation and liability gaps.
Calls for greater cryptocurrency regulations echoed across Europe in January 2018. On January 15, 2018, French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire announced the creation of a working group with the purpose of regulating cryptocurrencies. Similarly, Joachim Wuermeling, a board member of the German Bundesbank, called for effective regulation of virtual currencies on a global scale.
On January 22, 2018, Dombrovskis furthered his regulatory agenda for cryptocurrencies by writing three of the EU’s watchdogs warning them of a bubble in bitcoin. On January 25, 2018, embattled U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May joined the fray, echoing the sentiments of International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and U.S. President Donald Trump.
When speaking to Bloomberg during the World Economic Forum at Davos, the prime minister stated, “We should be looking at these very seriously — precisely because of the way they can be used, particularly by criminals.”
Switzerland, known for its progressive attitudes toward individual rights in banking, has kept a similar attitude toward cryptocurrency regulation. The Western European country is conspicuously absent from the European Union and appears to have an open attitude toward the cryptocurrency industry.
Johann Schneider-Ammann, economics minister, told reporters on January 18, 2018, that he wants Switzerland to be “the crypto-nation.” According to an article by the Financial Times, Jörg Gasser, state secretary at the Swiss finance ministry, stated, “We want it [the ICO market] to prosper but without compromising standards or the integrity of our financial markets.”
To that end, on January 18, 2018, the Swiss set up an ICO working group with an aim to “increase legal certainty, maintain the integrity of the financial center and ensure technology-neutral regulation.” The working group will report to the Swiss Federal Council by the end of 2018.
Russia, like South Korea, can’t seem to decide how it wants to handle cryptocurrency regulations. In September 2017, Russian Federation Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina said the central bank was against regulating cryptocurrencies as currency (as a payment for goods and services) and against equating them with a foreign currency. This statement seemed to indicate a progressive hands-off approach was in store for the cryptocurrency industry in Russia.
However, on September 8, 2017, the deputy finance minister for the Russian Federation, Alexei Moiseev, told reporters at a Moscow financial forum that settlements of payments in cryptocurrencies “are not legal now.” The deputy minister continued, stating, “Obviously, now there is a legal vacuum, and accordingly it’s hard for me to say if these actions are legal or not.”
Until these statements, the position proposed by the Russian Federation was to allow only “qualified investors” to deal with cryptocurrencies. Russian President Vladimir Putin sided with the position of the Finance Ministry on October 11, 2017, when the president said that the use of cryptocurrencies carries serious risks, being an opportunity for laundering criminal capitals, evading taxes, financing terrorism and spreading fraudulent schemes that would victimize Russian citizens.
The Finance Ministry continued its strict regulatory posturing by suggesting a taxation on cryptocurrency mining ventures on December 28, 2017. The new year began with even more hints at a Russian crackdown on cryptocurrencies, as Putin again sided with the Ministry of Finance on January 11, 2018, when he remarked that legislative regulation of the cryptocurrency market may be needed in the future.
President Putin stated, “This is the prerogative of the Central Bank at present and the Central Bank has sufficient authority so far. However, in broad terms, legislative regulation will be definitely required in the future.” (translation by TASS)
Two weeks later, on January 25, 2018, the Finance Ministry published a draft law “On Digital Financial Assets.” The law, if finalized, would define tokens, establish ICO procedures and determine the legal regime for cryptocurrencies and mining.
Presidential candidate Boris Titov decried the proposed legislation on January 26, 2018, stating that the draft law was excessively strict. According to Titov’s press service, “The Finance Ministry’s proposals present a much tougher regulation than in Japan, Switzerland, Belarus [and] Armenia; that is, in all countries that have adopted some form of legislation. It would be better not to adopt anything than to adopt such legislation.”
Further muddying the waters was a concession by Deputy Minister Moiseev that the December 2017 Belarusian adoption of the “Digital Economy Development Ordinance” could cause capital outflows from Russia to neighboring Belarus if heavy crypto-regulation occurred in the Russian Federation.