Journal #49: ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL MARKETS

WILL CRYPTOCURRENCIES REGULATORY ARBITRAGE SAVE EUROPE? A CRITICAL COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT BETWEEN ITALY AND MALTA

  • Published: 29 April 2019

DAMIANO DI MAIO | Financial Regulation Lawyer, Nunziante Magrone
ANDREA VIANELLI | Executive Director, Amagis LX and Legal & Compliance Manager, Amagis Capital

Since the start of the new millennium, financial markets have been through two major financial crises that have partly been blamed on regulatory shortcomings. In response, European regulatory authorities seem to have overreacted, and ended up limiting the freedom of the financial services industry. An industry-driven reaction to the over-regulation has been the evolution of cryptocurrencies, which represent a new and disruptive form of business within the financial markets. 

Regulators the world over are struggling to determine what legal description crypto assets fall under, and hence how to regulate them. In Europe, where one would expect there to be greater uniformity in terms of how these assets are regulated, we find that there is a patchwork of national regulations that are anything but aligned. In this article, we will focus on the current regulatory framework applicable to crypto assets across the E.U., and in particular on two jurisdictions that have adopted radically different approaches to dealing with crypto assets, namely Italy and Malta.