eToro and Bitpanda join calls for increased cryptocurrency regulation

“It doesn’t look good” when exchanges move to low-regulation countries, CEO says. 

Two of Europe’s bigger markets for cryptocurrency trading, UK-based eToro and Austrian firm Bitpanda, have joined the growing number of voices calling for more regulation in the cryptocurrency market. Speaking to Bloomberg, Bitpanda co-CEO Eric Demuth said it would be “happy to have regulation” as it would allow it to “know where we stand” and assist efforts to push cryptocurrency offerings into the mainstream of financial investments and services.

In what can be pretty easily interpreted as a broadside at recents moves by Binance to shift its operations from Asia to Europe, as the former moves towards tighter regulation, Demuth then went on to say that “it doesn’t look good” when firms like that look to position themselves under the umbrellas of countries more laissez faire rules – such as those proposed by Malta – in order to court them. He also implied such a move would be on no interest to his firm.

Iqbal Gandham, managing director of currency trading site eToro and chairman of trade group CryptoUK – which also boasts Coinbase UK and the CEX.IO exchange as members – repeated its commitment to bringing more rules to bear on the crypto market, in the hope of alleviating nervousness among consumers and large institutional investors.

“The benefits of regulation are clear,” he said. “An appropriate framework would serve to both protect consumers, and ensure the longevity and legitimacy of the industry itself”.

 

“Given that we are dealing with new and nascent technology, we wouldn’t want to simply cherry pick from existing regulation developed for other asset classes,” he continued. Any rules, he reasoned, “would need to focus on those crypto organisations that interact with consumers – the ‘on-’ and ‘off-’ ramps between fiat and cryptocurrencies. You can look at Japan to see how this might work.”

This follows up comments made by Gandham on behalf of CryptoUK earlier in May, when he called on UK MPs to back regulation proposals that would see crypto fall under the Financial Conduct Authority‘s purview in Britain, and introduce ‘crypto licenses for companies which adhered to its ‘Know Your Cumstomer’ and Anti-money laundering rules.

Gandham believes that for companies like his, based in the UK, such as move would be relatively easy, and bypass any need for new primary legislation.

“This is an approach which is already working well in other countries, who are now taking the lead over the UK, for example in Japan and Gibraltar.  This is a wonderful opportunity for government to take a proactive stance, putting action where there are positive words and reinforcing the UK’s role as the world’s financial capital.”