Europe’s landmark Markets in Crypto Assets regulation (MiCA) won’t be implemented until next February at the earliest, as EU lawmakers pushed back voting on the regulation due to the text’s length and complexity, an EU spokesperson told Decrypt.
Lawmakers had previously set a tentative date of December. The delay will likely hold back regulation that would have introduced greater protection for retail crypto investors and certainty for the industry.
The text for the bill was approved in June, with the final text published in October.
“After a political deal (end of June) and its confirmation after it was checked by lawyers of the EU institutions (October), the text has to be translated to have identical copies in all EU languages,” the spokesperson told Decrypt via email. “This process has not finished yet because of length, technicalities, and other priorities such as urgent energy legislation. We expect the text to be finally voted in February, but again, this date is tentative.”
The delay is likely to cause renewed turmoil in the crypto industry.
Though MiCA might be voted into law next year, most of its regulations will only come into effect 18 months after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, which has now likely been pushed back to the latter part of 2024.
“Any such delay would cause further uncertainty for the industry, as MiCA’s text is intertwined not only with the Transfer of Funds Regulation but also with other regulations currently in the works, most notably the Anti-Money Laundering Regulation,” said Marina Markezic, co-founder of the European Crypto Initiative, a Brussels-based advocacy organization.
What’s in the EU’s crypto bill?
The MiCA bill contains several provisions regulators say are necessary to rein in what they call “the Wild West of the crypto world.”
Among the various tenets included in the bill, stablecoin issuers, like Tether and Circle, would be required to hold enough reserves denominated in euros or other currencies used by EU member states to avoid a Terra-style collapse.
The bill will also make crypto miners disclose their energy consumption as the continent continues to mull sustainability-focused regulation.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can have a bigger carbon footprint than some small countries.