The European Union has agreed on ground-breaking rules for regulating crypto assets, EU lawmakers said on Thursday, as the rout in bitcoin piles pressure on authorities to rein in the sector.
Globally, crypto assets are largely unregulated, with national operators in the EU only required to show controls for combating money laundering.
Representatives from the European Parliament and EU states thrashed out a deal on the markets in crypto assets (MiCA) law, which is expected to come into force around the end of 2023.
“Today, we put order in the Wild West of crypto assets and set clear rules for a harmonized market,” said Stefan Berger, the center right lawmaker who led negotiations on behalf of the parliament.
“The recent fall in the value of digital currencies shows us how highly risky and speculative they are and that it is fundamental to act,” Berger said.
MiCA will be the first comprehensive regime for crypto-assets in the world and will contain strong measures to guard against market abuse and manipulation, added Ernest Urtasun, a Green Party lawmaker in the parliament.
The new law gives issuers of crypto assets and providers of related services a “passport” to serve clients across the EU from a single base, while meeting capital and consumer protection rules.
The United States and Britain, two major crypto centers, have yet to approve similar rules.
Crypto assets came under pressure after the collapse of TerraUSD and luna tokens last month, with major US cryptocurrency lending company Celsius Network this month freezing withdrawals and transfers.