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Bank of Italy to release crypto guidelines soon

Bank of Italy will soon publish guidelines on how to apply the European Union’s upcoming crypto rules, announced Bank of Italy Governor Fabio Panetta on Tuesday, July 9. The guidelines aim to facilitate the effective application of the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) and protect cryptocurrency holders.

  1. The guidelines will help implement MiCA regulations effectively.
  2. MiCA outlines two main categories of tokens suitable for payments: asset-reference tokens (ARTs) and electronic money tokens (EMTs).

Panetta noted that the Bank of Italy found only EMTs can fully function as a means of payment while maintaining public trust. EMTs are linked to a single official currency, such as a U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin, whereas ARTs are pegged to one or more assets, like the gold-backed token PAX Gold (PAXG).

Panetta also referred to Bitcoin and Ether as examples of “unbacked crypto-assets,” stating that these have no intrinsic value and are akin to a gamble. He claimed that the main objective of crypto investors is to sell assets at higher prices and possibly use them to dodge tax rules or regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing. He emphasized that such cryptocurrencies do not possess the characteristics required to function as money—namely as a means of payment, store of value, and unit of account.

Panetta mentioned that while the number of investors in “unbacked” cryptocurrencies is currently low, it is not negligible and could grow in the future. In late June, Reuters reported that the Italian government plans to increase surveillance on crypto markets to comply with MiCA, with potential fines ranging from 5,000 euros ($5,400) to 5 million euros ($5.4 million) for violations such as market manipulation and insider trading.

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