Coins Bitcoin, against the backdrop of Europe and the European flag, the concept of virtual money, close-up. Conceptual image of digital crypto currency.

EU finance ministers unanimously agree on MiCA regulation

The EU’s landmark Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation received the green light from member state Finance Ministers on the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (EcoFin) in a unanimous vote on Tuesday. The vote was somewhat of a formality, with MiCA having comprehensively passed its final parliament vote earlier last month, April 20, after a delay-plagued approval process.

The EcoFin council is made up of finance ministers from all 27 member states, and it rubber-stamped the regulation without objection. It also adopted two more pieces of legislation, including one related to the information accompanying transfers of funds and certain digital assets.

When it comes into force in 2024, MiCA will bring digital assets, issuers, and service providers under a broad regulatory framework. Digital asset service providers, such as exchanges and wallet providers, will need to obtain a license from national regulators to offer services to EU citizens. Along with license mandates, MiCA will provide new classifications for different digital assets, rules molded to different assets, proof-of-funds requirements for stablecoin issuers, and the requirement for any company seeking to issue digital assets/coins to publish a white paper containing information about the project, including possible risks.

When the legislation passed its final parliament vote back in April, Stefan Berger, a member of the European Parliament, said:

“With the final vote on the MiCA regulation, we put the European Union at the forefront of the crypto industry…Trust was damaged by cases like FTX, and through this balanced regulatory framework, we are creating stability in a young industry.”

This was a sentiment echoed in Tuesday’s announcement by Elisabeth Svantesson, Minister for Finance of Sweden, as the bill was rubber-stamped by EcoFin:

“I am very pleased that today we are delivering on our promise to start regulating the crypto-assets sector. 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 regulation should become law this summer when it is added to the EU’s official journal. It will then enter an implementation period of up to 18 months to give national regulators and companies time to get up to speed before the new rules come fully into force in 2024.

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