RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, Wiesbaden Institute of Finance and Insurance (wifin), Wiesbaden
This paper provides background to the upcoming EU regulation on Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA). The first step to regulate crypto-assets at EU level was taken by including virtual currencies in the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) which came into force 2018. Initial coin offerings fueled growth to a market with a variety of crypto-assets (payment, investment/security, utility and hybrid tokens). In principle, MiFID II should cover investment/security tokens by treating these as financial instruments. In January 2019, EBA and ESMA identified regulatory gaps at EU level. The announcement on the stablecoin project Libra in June 2019 sent shockwaves and led to defensive reaction against global stablecoins by regulators in light of significant risks and challenges posed. The EU institutions adopted strict positions against global stablecoins taken by the G7 and the G20. In September 2020, the European Commission launched the MiCA draft legislation to plug regulatory gaps concerning payment (including stablecoins) and utility tokens. Issuers, offerors and service providers of crypto-assets that are not financial instruments would be regulated under MiCA at EU level. Stricter rules should apply for stablecoins. After negotiations between the EU institutions, the final agreed MiCA text will go to plenary vote soon. The EU regulation will come into force in the EU member states in 2024. Many additional areas of action (Decentralized Finance, non-fungible tokens, EU taxonomy for sustainable activities) had to be left out from the MiCA scope for the sake of finalising the legislation.
Bitcoin crypto-assets crypto-asset service providers cryptocurrencies distributed ledger technology (DLT) Diem electronic money initial coin offering (ICO) Libra Meta Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA) non-fungible token (NFT) payment tokens security tokens stablecoins TerraUSD Transfer of Funds Regulation (ToFR) utility tokens