The evolution of the Old Continent’s increasingly surefooted approach to crypto is continuing apace, with the news that the European Union (EU)’s long-awaited Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation has become law at last.
The formal signing into law of the new measures was confirmed by the official Twitter account of the Swedish presidency of the EU Council, and reported on by CoinDesk. It means the bloc is a further step closer to becoming the world’s first major jurisdiction to put in place tailored rules for the crypto industry.
On hand to sign the law were European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and Peter Kullgren, Rural Affairs Minister in the Swedish Government. It wasn’t only the MiCA regulation that they signed, but also a separate law aimed at tackling money laundering by requiring that crypto providers verify the identity of their customers when funds are transferred.
Sweden is the present holder of the EU presidency, and is also chairing legislative talks. According to CoinDesk, a parliament spokesperson confirmed that two unrelated regulations – on trade with Ukraine – were also signed.
So, what lies ahead for the MiCA law, and the EU’s broader relationship with crypto?
The MiCA regulation is widely expected to be published in the EU’s official journal this month, entering force shortly afterwards. It will be another 12 to 18 months, however, before the new regulation’s provisions take effect.
Those measures include crypto exchanges and wallet providers being expected to obtain a licence in order to operate across all 27 EU member states, as well as a requirement imposed on stablecoin issuers to hold appropriate reserves.
MiCA has been a long time coming – the European Commission having first proposed it in 2020 – and has been largely welcomed by key industry players, such as the crypto exchange Coinbase, which has said the law will “give crypto organisations the confidence to invest and grow in the region.”
However, it is also widely recognised that various further new laws may follow, covering such vital domains as staking, decentralised finance, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Many battles doubtless lie ahead on the question of what those additional regulations may look like. In the meantime, there can be much positive reflection and self-congratulation on the achievement – in the form of MiCA – of a landmark law that should help reassure stakeholders across the European crypto industry, while providing an important platform for growth.
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