In Act 1, Scene III, of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the encounter between the protagonist and the witches is marked by a question, that Macbeth addresses to the strange creatures he meets – together with Banquo – in “a heath near Forres”: “Speak, if you can: what are you?”, whereby the witches reply with the three prophecies, triggering the entire development of the Story.

A similar issue of identification, and attractiveness-aversion, seems to occur, today, in the area of capital and financial markets regulation, as one stumbles across a wide range of strange, new assets, born out of the depths of the dashing – and mysterious, at least for neophytes – technological developments over these last years.

Recently, also regulators and supervisors have been quite active in providing support with regard to the possible classification of crypto-assets.

However, the approach taken until today seems to be a bit unsatisfactory, or – rather – doomed to be overcome by the development and gradual dissemination of crypto-trading platforms.

Looking at the current ongoing of the debate, the qualification of crypto-assets is focused on the attempt to frame such assets within the standard categories provided for by the overall system of financial regulation, according to what can be defined as a “bottom-up” approach.

In this context, areas that are being dealt with are, on the one hand, the regulation of payment services and, on the other, rules on public offerings, prospectus and – obviously – MiFID.

We believe, however, that the bottom-up approach should be combined and integrated with a “top-down” approach, by better framing, into the analysis, the status of the trading platforms where crypto-assets are eventually exchanged.

Download HERE  SSRN-id3332485

Prof. Filippo Annunziata

Bocconi University; European Banking Institute

Date Written: February 11, 2019  SSRN