How European countries strongly welcomed cryptocurrencies?

EU crypto adoption is quite commendable
  • The current plan laid down in MiCA is for the European Banking Authority to take on the supervisor role of stablecoin issuers
  • The markets that have the most crypto holders are said to be the wealthier markets, with mostly younger online populations
  • The 5AMLD, also known as the fifth Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Directive, came into effect on January 10, 2020

European countries are among the first to have adopted cryptocurrency without any inhibitions. Among them, the first one to have the highest adoption rate in Switzerland, followed by Germany and London. Take a look at the feature that talks about the adoption rate, regulations, and crypto discrepancies. 

The cryptocurrency market in Europe has come with increasing leaps and bounds, with many European countries opting for this new way of minting money. The cryptocurrency space in Europe is a constantly evolving space as investors’ demand is increasing over time. But there is a hitch to it as most of them are still cautious of trading in the crypto market. However, people are waiting to see the forward-looking governments and a diverse palette of regulations and concerns country by country. 

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The study was done by Coinshare Research, where an analysis about the European countries on the future of Cryptocurrency market from early birds through pioneers to mining has been discussed in detail with an overview of each country with regulations, current adoption rate, and future is discussed in detail. 

As per the 2019 report by GlobalWebIndex, it is estimated that 4% of the internet users in European countries own cryptocurrency in 17 markets. Switzerland tops the chart with the highest crypto adoption rate in Europe, and London has the highest concentration of crypto holders. The markets that have the most crypto holders are said to be the wealthier markets with mostly younger online populations. 

But this is one aspect of the crypto market. Understanding the government regulations, concerns from the market’s opportunities and limitations is another subject to ponder upon. Another factor of concern is maintaining a balance between a future-driven attitude and a cautious approach designed to protect the investors.

Hence, below is a crypto market vision in Europe which is discussed with utmost precision and consciousness. The detailed report focuses on the most active countries in the space, starting with the broader regional context. 

Keen eye on Crypto Market in European Countries

Individual countries in Europe have their individual regulations as far as the crypto market is concerned. It is largely driven by the fact that each government has its own way of looking at this alternative mode of money gaining popularity the world over. Each country has decided its own rules and regulations, their own classifications, and often gone in different directions. However, the European Union (EU) has slowly begun to realize its importance and shown interest in harmonizing digital assets’ European regulation. 

The 5AMLD, also known as the fifth Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Directive, came into effect on January 10, 2020. The EU adopted legislation to contribute to global security, the financial system’s integrity, and sustainable growth. The authorities also expected to widen the regulatory parameter to capture crypto and other entities dealing with crypto. 

Under 5AMLD, the cryptocurrency businesses face a similar situation to traditional financial institutions. Hence, the companies dealing in cryptocurrencies will have to adhere to the rules of AML/CFT, KYC, and data sharing requirements, unlike banks. 

As per the regulations, the crypto providers have to register their business with the local authorities in the EU, implement KYC, Customer Due Diligence (CDD), and Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR). The providers have to give user information like name, address, etc., to Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) if required.

Few countries adopted 5AMLD in January 2020. Finland has adopted the new regulations in November 2019. LocalBitcoins, a crypto company from Finland, has adopted the new regulations and made necessary changes in March 2019. It was the first digital exchange in Europe to align the business with 5AMLD. A verification process for its customers and sign-up policies were introduced. 

Now comes the UK, which has witnessed people adopting cryptocurrency much earlier. This is evident because one of the UK’s crypto companies, Bottle Pay, a crypto wallet provider, has raised $2million in seed funding, which happened in just a couple of months of its opening. But they had to shut the operations before 5AMLD came into effect. 

GlobalWebIndex reports that the people dealing in cryptocurrency love to deal with anonymity. Six in ten people delete cookies or use private browsing windows, and they like to use VPNs each month to hide their web browsing from government authorities. 

Governments in Europe have been supportive of cryptocurrencies. This is evident from the European Commission’s approach to Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) is all set to open a new era for crypto legislation. The regulations focused on rules of trading, marketing and supervision of digital assets, the governance of token issuers and crypto service providers, implementation of consumer protection rules to ensure market integrity. 

MiCA has also issued a regulatory system for Stablecoins like the Diem initiative on Facebook. The EU will adapt to the technological progress in finance. The current plan laid down in MiCA is for the European Banking Authority to take on the supervisor role of stablecoin issuers. The MiCA regulations are pending a review by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers for review and adoption. A year will be taken to pass these regulations and can be made in its final form. 

Over time, these initiatives will finally change the individual country regulations, which will provide operators in the digital asset space with greater certainty in the much larger market.  

Germany’s Landscape of Crypto Market

Germany has a much wider landscape. The country is a veteran in the crypto market. As per market data of 2019, 87% of the population comes in the adult internet population bracket. They are well aware of cryptocurrencies. 18% own the cryptocurrency, and 9.2% used to own some already in the past. The adoption rate of cryptocurrency is very fast in the country. 

Germany’s second-largest stock exchange has opened up its cryptocurrency trading platform (BSDEX) to the traders. Hence, access to crypto is made easy. To deal in cryptocurrency, the minimum age limit is 18 years to trade and should be a country resident, should have a German bank account. Several other options are available in the market with for potential investors. It is one of the most popular and largest bitcoin marketplaces in Europe. It has over 875,000 customers. Germany has 50 bitcoin ATMs in Munich, Berlin, and Dusseldorf.

UK scenario of cryptocurrency 

The UK’s adoption rate is quite 3.86%, as per the FCA Findings. The 1.8 million adults in the UK own cryptocurrencies. 75% of the UK consumers invested £1,000 who own cryptocurrencies. 77% bought crypto assets through exchanges. There are 83% who use only non-UK-based exchanges. This is why the UK base is far behind their arch-rivals like US-based CoinBase and Kraken. 

ATMs can be accessed anytime in 24 hours in the country. There are 175 ATMs in London. Cryptocurrency in the UK is not regarded as money or equal status, unlike fiat currency. There is no Central Bank, digital currency yet in the UK. However, a crypto asset task force was developed in 2018 to see the impact of the crypto asset and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in financial services. 

Switzerland accepts cryptocurrency with open arms

It is one of the countries of Europe that has adopted cryptocurrency with open arms. 14% of asset holders also have crypto. It makes the country have the highest adoption rate in crypto alongside Romania and Ireland. 

People in the age group of 18 to 85 own cryptocurrency. They account for 7% of the savers. People from 18 to 29 years account for 13% of the youngest population and believe that bitcoin and other coins will hold more importance in the future. 7% between the age group of 30 and 55 continue to invest in crypto.

It is one of the countries where crypto is accepted openly, but no Swiss law defines the term cryptocurrency or virtual currency. They are definitely not legal tender or even considered as money. They are seen as assets subject to wealth tax. The capital gain on these assets is exempt from income tax. 

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Steve Anderrson
Steve Anderson is an Australian crypto enthusiast. He is a specialist in management and trading for over 5 years. Steve has worked as a crypto trader, he loves learning about decentralisation, understanding the true potential of the blockchain.

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