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The European Union’s landmark crypto regulation has passed its final legislative hurdle, with the unanimous approval of European finance ministers.
Members of the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (EcoFin) adopted the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) with no objections in a meeting on Tuesday.
EcoFin consists of the finance and economic ministers of all 27 EU countries, while relevant European commissioners also participate in meetings.
Elisabeth Svantesson, Sweden’s minister for finance and the chair of the meeting, said in a statement that she was “pleased” with the adoption, which marks the final step in the legislative process.
“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,” she said.
MiCA, which creates a uniform approach to crypto across the European bloc, was passed by members of the European Parliament last month in Strasbourg.
With today’s nod from finance ministers, the regulation is on track to become law this summer, when it will be entered into the EU’s official journal.
There will then be an implementation period, giving both regulators and companies time to catch up with the new rules before they come fully into force. Certain rules regarding stablecoins will be implemented in a year, but others will not be enforced for 18 months.
The introduction of a consistent set of rules for crypto in the EU has been widely welcomed by the industry and regulators alike. Last week, the SEC’s Hester Peirce said MiCA could even serve as a “model” for the U.S. approach to regulating the sector.
Reacting to today’s approval, Billy Sebell, executive director of blockchain project XDC Foundation said the EU was “placing a positive marker on blockchain technology.”
“By enacting this legislation, the EU is lowering the barrier to entry for individuals and entities to benefit from blockchain technology—the underlying engine for crypto assets and many other projects,” he told Decrypt in a prepared statement.
EU adopts crypto tax, money-laundering rules
In addition to MiCA, regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds and certain crypto-assets was also adopted by EcoFin.
The rules, which were also approved by parliamentarians last month, extend anti-money laundering rules to crypto.
“Today’s decision is bad news for those who have misused crypto-assets for their illegal activities, to circumvent EU sanctions or to finance terrorism and war,” Svantesson commented. “Doing so will no longer be possible in Europe without exposure – it is an important step forward in the fight against money laundering.”
The Council also reached an agreement on its position regarding various tax rules.
Local tax authorities will now be mandated to share information with each other to ensure cross-border crypto transactions do not slip through the taxation net.