EU’s Groundbreaking Crypto Licensing Regime Poised for Approval as Lawmakers Rally Behind It

"EU lawmakers show strong support for MiCA regulation ahead of crucial vote"

Lawmakers in the European Union (EU) have shown continued support for the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation, which is set to be approved in a vote scheduled for Thursday. The MiCA regulation, which was agreed upon last year, will allow digital-wallet companies and crypto exchanges to offer regulated services across the EU. The regulation also requires stablecoin issuers to hold sufficient reserves. Members of the European People’s Party, Socialists and Democrats, Renew Europe, and European Conservatives and Reformists have welcomed the proposals, indicating that the law is set to comfortably gain the majority needed for the legislation to pass.

Lídia Pereira of the center-right EPP, the biggest political grouping in the European Parliament, said, “Europe can be proud of the step we’re taking today.” She added, “As we’ve seen in recent months, stringent rules and supervision are very much needed.” The European Commission’s Mairead McGuinness cited the collapse of crypto companies FTX, Celsius Network, and Voyager Digital, as well as the terraUSD stablecoin, and referred to provisions intended to protect consumers, prevent market abuse, and curb money laundering. Stefan Berger, the German center-right lawmaker who led the parliament’s negotiations on the law, said that MiCA should “restore the trust that was damaged by the FTX case” and bring stability to the sector. He added that it will put the EU “at the forefront of the token economy.”

Lawmakers have also shown support for a separate but controversial anti-money-laundering measure known as transfer-of-funds rules, which require crypto providers to gather details of their users’ identity. The Green grouping’s Ernest Urtasun said that the agreement on the laws marks “the end of the ‘Wild West’ era for the unregulated world of crypto assets.” He added that the sector had “provided a safe haven for fraudsters and international criminal networks.”

The deal struck by negotiators for the parliament and the EU’s Council, representing member states, must be formally rubber-stamped by both institutions before the measures pass into law. However, administrative delays in completing and translating the text have hampered the process. MiCA rules will take effect 12 to 18 months after the legislation is published in the bloc’s Official Journal, which is likely to happen in June. This could make the EU the first major jurisdiction with a wide-reaching crypto law.

Martin Reid

Martin Reid

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