Monday, 27 March 2023

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The limitations of the EU’s new cryptocurrency regulations

The limitations of the EU’s new cryptocurrency regulations

The final vote on the European Union’s much-awaited set of crypto rules, known as the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation, was recently deferred to April 2023. It was not the first delay — previously the European lawmakers rescheduled the procedure from November 2022 to February 2023. 

The setback, however, was caused solely by technical difficulties, and thus, MiCA is still on its way to becoming the first comprehensive pan-European crypto framework. But that will happen only in 2024, whereas during the second half of last year, when the MiCA text had already been mostly written, the industry was shaken with a number of shocks, provoking new headaches for regulators. There’s little doubt that in an industry as dynamic as crypto, the whole of 2023 will bring some new hot topics as well.

Hence, the question is whether MiCA, with its already existing imperfections, could qualify as a truly “comprehensive framework” a year from now. Or, which is more important, will it for an effective set of rules to prevent future failures akin to TerraUSD or FTX?

These questions have certainly appeared in the mind of the president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde. In November 2022, amid the FTX scandal, she claimed “there will have to be a MiCA II, which embraces broader what it aims to regulate and to supervise, and that is very much needed.”

Cointelegraph reached out to a range of industry stakeholders to know their opinions on whether the Markets in Crypto Assets regulation is still enough to enable the proper functioning of the crypto market in Europe.

EU DeFi regulations still a ways off

One main blindspot with regard to the MiCA is decentralized finance (DeFi). The current draft generally lacks any mention of one of the later organizational and technological forms in the crypto space, and it surely could become a problem when MiCA arrives. That certainly drew the attention of Jeffrey Blockinger, general counsel at Quadrata. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Blockinger imagined a scenario for a future crisis: 

“If DeFi protocols disrupt the major centralized exchanges as a result of a broad loss of confidence in their business model, new rules could be proposed to address everything from money laundering to customer protection.”

Bittrex Global CEO Oliver Linch also believes there is a global problem with DeFi regulation and that MiCA won’t make an exception. Linch said that that DeFi is inherently unregulatable and, to some degree,…

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