On 4 July 2014, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published an opinion on virtual currencies. The opinion concludes that:
- There are some potential benefits from virtual currencies, such as faster and cheaper transactions, as well as increased financial inclusion.
- The risks of virtual currencies outweigh the potential benefits. More than 70 risks have been identified, including risks to users, risks to non-user market participants, risks to financial integrity (such as money laundering and other financial crime), risks to existing payment systems in conventional currencies, and risks to regulatory authorities.
- A regulatory approach to address these risks will require a substantial body of regulation. In particular, it will need to cover governance requirements for several market participants, the segregation of client accounts, capital requirements, and the creation of "scheme governing authorities" (who would be accountable for the integrity of particular VC schemes).
The EBA advises national supervisory authorities to discourage credit institutions, payment institutions and e-money institutions from buying, holding or selling virtual currencies.
The EBA also recommends that EU legislators consider declaring market participants at the direct interface between conventional and virtual currencies (such as virtual currency exchanges) to become obliged entities under anti-money laundering legislation.