The Council of the European Union has given its final approval to new regulations for crypto assets and markets in the EU. The decision completes a lengthy and complex legislative process for what’s considered to be the world’s first comprehensive legal framework for digital assets like bitcoin.
EU Finance Ministers Give Final Nod to Markets in Crypto Assets Law
At a meeting on Tuesday, the EU Council, composed of the finance ministers of the member states, adopted the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation. The set of rules brings crypto assets, their issuers and crypto service providers under a Union-wide regulatory framework.
The formal adoption is the final step in the legislative process, the Council noted. It comes after a provisional agreement was reached in June 2022, following trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament and the Commission, and the EU lawmakers’ vote in April of this year.
“I am very pleased that today we are delivering on our promise to start regulating the crypto-assets sector,” stated Elisabeth Svantesson, the finance minister of Sweden. Quoted in a press release, she also emphasized:
Recent events have confirmed the urgent need for imposing rules which will better protect Europeans who have invested in these assets, and prevent the misuse of crypto industry for the purposes of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
The legislation is designed to regulate the supervision, consumer protection and environmental safeguards of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The new rules also cover utility tokens, asset referenced tokens and stablecoins.
The law regulates trading platforms as well as digital wallets used to hold crypto assets. “This regulatory framework aims to protect investors, preserve financial stability, while allowing innovation and fostering the attractiveness of the crypto-asset sector,” the EU Council insisted, adding:
It also introduces a harmonized regulatory framework in the European Union which, given the global nature of crypto markets, is an improvement compared to the current situation with national legislation in some member states only.
MiCA is part of a larger digital finance package, meant to develop a common European approach, which also contains a digital finance strategy, a Digital Operational Resilience Act, concerning crypto service providers, too, and a proposal on a distributed ledger technology pilot regime for wholesale uses.
How will MiCA change the regulatory climate for the crypto industry and users on the Old Continent? Share your thoughts on the regulation in the comments section below.