Jerome de Tyche, President of Ethereum France and CEO of Cometh, found that Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory framework in Europe takes cues from France’s commendable regulatory regime. Tyche highlights the striking similarities between MiCA and France’s Digital Asset Service Provider (DASP) framework, emphasizing the importance of registration and accreditation for compliance.
This alignment has garnered widespread acclaim from industry stakeholders and regulators, with SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce even suggesting that the United States could look to MiCA as a potential model for its own crypto regulation.
The French Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has made it mandatory for companies engaged in various crypto activities, including digital asset custody, trading digital assets against legal tender, conducting crypto trading operations, and buying or selling digital assets, to obtain DASP licenses. Notably, major crypto exchanges like Binance and Crypto.com have already secured DASP licenses in France, while Coinbase, the leading US-based exchange, has expressed intentions to follow suit. Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao applauds France’s pro-crypto regulations, identifying the country as a prime contender to lead Europe’s crypto industry.
While France spearheads crypto regulation, the broader European market eagerly awaits the full implementation of MiCA. Surprisingly, out of approximately 60 registered firms in France, none have opted for the more rigorous level of authorization. Consequently, French lawmakers considered a mandatory requirement for all firms to obtain full licenses, aiming to better prepare them for the impending MiCA legislation. However, critics argued that this approach would burden businesses unfairly and impede compliance, potentially tarnishing France’s reputation as a thriving crypto hub.
As a compromise, a decision was reached in January, allowing registered companies operating under the simpler authorization system to continue their activities with minimal changes until the anticipated implementation of MiCA in January 2025. New market entrants from 2024 onwards will still be required to acquire full licenses, ensuring compliance with MiCA’s regulatory standards.
Furthermore, French regulators are contemplating a “fast-track” system to expedite the approval process for registered crypto firms under the forthcoming EU-wide rules. The introduction of MiCA is poised to exert a profound influence on the European crypto industry, including France, generating further discussions and debates within the sector. Tyche suggests that due to the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris, the EthCC conference is exploring alternative locations, with Brussels being a potential choice to retain its French essence while bringing it closer to regulators at the European Commission headquarters in Belgium.
The adoption of the MiCA framework, drawing inspiration from France’s successful PSAN system, signifies a proactive approach to regulating the crypto sector in Europe. This harmonized framework is expected to enhance the competitiveness of French and European players, establishing a unified and transparent environment for market participants. As Europe sets the precedent for crypto regulation, it bodes well for Ethereum and the wider digital asset industry, fostering innovation, growth, and investor protection within a well-defined regulatory framework.