EU Regulator Considers Approving Bitcoin for UCITS Products

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s financial watchdog, is reviewing whether to allow Bitcoin into the region’s €12 trillion mutual fund market.

JUST IN: 🇪🇺 EU Securities Authority is exploring adding #Bitcoin and Crypto exposure to the €12T investment market.

EU is gearing up 🙌

— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) May 9, 2024

ESMA seeks feedback on expanding eligible assets for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS). These mainstream retail investment products comprise over 75% of funds held by EU citizens.

If Bitcoin is approved for UCITS, it would enable Europe’s first mainstream access, meaning that fund managers could allocate small portfolios to Bitcoin within the massive framework.

ESMA is gathering input until August 7 before making recommendations. The move follows Bitcoin ETF approvals in the US and Hong Kong, which have signaled a warming global regulatory attitude globally.

Still, obstacles remain regarding Bitcoin custody under existing EU regulations. Rules like the upcoming Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) legislation may require coordination on asset segregation.

Nonetheless, ESMA’s proactive approach recognizes Bitcoin’s growing relevance across Europe. 

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Lawyer Andrea Pantaleo states the impact could eclipse recent Bitcoin ETF launches. While those products are Bitcoin-focused, UCITS comprises diverse fund types with varying asset allocations.

So, approval wouldn’t necessarily create standalone Bitcoin funds. But it would unlock the trillions in UCITS for modest Bitcoin exposure.

This could significantly benefit liquidity while encouraging EU adoption. However, a long road remains before Bitcoin’s inclusion given strict EU standards.