The European Commission adopted a new digital finance package, composed of its Digital Finance Strategy, a Retail Payments Strategy, and legislative proposals on crypto-assets and digital resilience. The European Commission aims to give consumers better access to financial services through digital technologies such as online banking and fintech solutions in financial services, while at the same time ensuring investor protection and mitigating risks of money laundering and cyber-crime. The Digital Finance Strategy adapts EU financial services rules for the digital age, for applications such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, and to promote data sharing and open finance, while maintaining the EU's privacy and data protection standards. All providers of financial services, whether traditional banks or technology companies, should be subject to the same rules when undertaking the same activities and taking the same risks. The Retail Payments Strategy seeks to achieve a fully integrated retail payments system in the EU, including instant cross-border payment solutions. The proposed legislation on crypto-assets, the “Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets” (MiCA), will allow crypto-asset issuers and providers authorised in one Member State to provide their services across the EU. Safeguards include capital requirements, custody of assets, a mandatory complaint holder procedure available to investors, and rights of the investor against the issuer. Issuers of significant asset-backed crypto-assets (global ‘stablecoins') would be subject to more stringent requirements. The European Commission also proposed a pilot regime for market infrastructures that wish to try to trade and settle transactions in financial instruments in crypto-asset form, a so-called ‘sandbox' approach that allows temporary derogations from existing rules so that regulators can gain experience in the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in market infrastructures, while ensuring that they can deal with risks to investor protection, market integrity and financial stability. The proposed “Digital Operational Resilience Act” (DORA) will require all firms to ensure that they can withstand all types of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) - related disruptions and threats, for example, a cyber-attack, and introduces an oversight framework for ICT providers, such as cloud computing service providers.

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