Restrictive Crypto Rules for EU Banks Confirmed in Published Legal Draft

EU banks would have to place the maximum possible risk weight on crypto assets under a draft law published by the European Parliament on Friday.

The planned rules could determine how the traditional financial sector engages with digital assets. Under the deal, as previously reported by CoinDesk, banks would have to disclose their direct and indirect exposure to crypto, while the European Commission prepares more fine-grained rules for the sector.

“The potentially increasing involvement of [financial] institutions in crypto-assets related activities should be thoroughly reflected in the Union prudential framework, in order to adequately mitigate the risks of these instruments for the institutions’ financial stability,” said an explanatory text by the parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. “This is even more urgent in light of the recent adverse developments in the crypto-assets markets.”

The proposed risk weight of 1,250% offers little incentive for banks to hold crypto, as – unlike other assets such as mortgages – banks would have to hold capital to match the amount of crypto they have.

The draft law asks the European Commission to propose further legislation by June to implement international capital standards set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The Committee has proposed imposing a hard cap on banks’ holdings of unbacked crypto such as bitcoin (BTC), a suggestion which does not appear to be included in the EU’s legal draft.

Before passing into law, the EU member governments meeting as the Council and the parliament must agree on the proposals.

Read more: European Banks Must Fully Cover Crypto Holdings With Capital, Draft Text Says