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Excitement over the EU’s landmark crypto regulation, coined MiCA, was restrained at Brussels Blockchain Week on Wednesday, as speakers agreed it was too soon to tell if it would give the local industry the serious boost it needs.
Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) was passed by the European Parliament in April, bringing in sweeping rules that will unify the approach to cryptocurrencies and stablecoins across all 27 EU countries.
But Circle’s director for EU strategy and policy, Patrick Hansen, said during the event in the Belgian capital that it is “too early to tell” if the regulation can drive up the region’s competitiveness.
“You'll have to wait, at least for another 48 months – two or three years – in order to get some of the data,” he said. “Right now Europe is definitely lagging in terms of capital and in terms of innovation of space.”
He added, however, that there are “some promising figures” indicating a possible increase in interest from venture capital investors in European crypto. “But it's way too early to tell,” he concluded.
Hansen was appearing on a panel alongside Peter Kerstens, a European Commission advisor who worked on MiCA. He said Europe was still not competitive in terms of having “more entrepreneurship, more investment, more capital flowing into the space”, but that the new rules will provide “certainty."
In what appeared to be a swipe at the U.S. regulator, which this week sued both Coinbase and Binance, Kerstens said MiCA “provides a framework in which this community can develop without having to fear constant legal action against them”.
Beata Sivak, crypto exchange Kraken’s head of government relations and policy for Europe, said that MiCA “gives us the ability to really invest in the region.”
“It does give us that legal certainty that we needed, but it’s just really a part of the story,” she said, adding that greater “global consistency” would be helpful for international crypto firms.
MiCA was adopted by the financial ministers of EU countries last month, clearing the final legislative hurdle before it becomes law. But the rules will not be instantly applied even once MiCA is entered into the EU’s official journal.
An implementation period will give stablecoin issuers a year to adhere to the new rules, while other parts of the regulation will not be enforced for 18 months.