Blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation in Europe risks stifling innovation

25
9
2020
Blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation in Europe risks stifling innovation
Blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation in Europe risks stifling innovation
  • On September 24, the European Commission published proposals aimed at regulating crypto-assets operating on blockchain networks.
  • Adan welcomes the Commission’s pragmatic approach, which proposes an ad-hoc regime for cryptocurrencies and an experimental system for tokenised financial securities.
  • However, the current project jeopardises innovation in the sector as it is too restrictive and, by its overly broad and restrictive framework, prevents the emergence of new use cases.
  • The French digital asset industry is positioning itself, by the intermediary of Adan, to help refine the regime and thus make it more appropriate and compatible with the rapid development of the sector. 

As part of the European Union’s “Digital Finance” strategy, the European Commission published on September 24 regulatory proposals aimed at regulating crypto-asset markets (MiCA) and creating a pilot regime for financial instruments issued and traded on blockchain networks (security tokens).

L'Adan Welcomes the novel approach adopted by the European Commission, which has recognised and taken into account the specificities of and digital assets their markets. Regulation is essential to ensure legal certainty, investor protection, well-functioning markets and financial stability. These are also the expectations of the industry. However, the ad-hoc approach, successfully tested in France since 2018, makes it possible to achieve these objectives by means of adapted rules. In addition, the passport system is to be welcomed, which will enable CASP service providers to develop rapidly throughout the European Uniondigital assets . Adan also welcomes the creation of a transitional regime for Token security markets, allowing for adjustments in financial regulation to facilitate the development of these markets.

The propositions are an encouraging step towards strengthening and legitimising the French and European crypto-asset sector. They can, however, be significantly improved. 

Adan finds that the current project does not fully deliver on its second stated objective to “support innovation,” as it imposes unnecessary limitations and obligations for crypto-asset market players. As an example, the application of financial regulatory provisions to all stablecoins without distinction, the restriction of their issuance to financial firms, the prohibition of interest-bearing instruments and the idea of making emerging players bear the economic cost of supervision are likely to hinder any significant innovation in the old continent. Meanwhile, regulated structures based in the United States and Asia are opening up markets for radically innovative crypto-assets – the contrast is striking. Because the crypto-asset market is global and the stage of an ongoing fight for market domination, the MiCA regime must find on proportionality and have competition-friendly foundations.

The MiCA proposal is only a first draft. The EU legislative process will build the final regime.

Adan is firmly committed to finding the right balance to ensure investor and consumer protection while promoting and preserving open innovation that allows unprecedented value creation and deployment of financing for innovation. Promising projects are emerging in Europe, new players are driving the digital finance revolution, and our role is to ensure that they can become the “leading innovative European companies”, as the Commission aspires. With these missions in mind, we are ready to contribute to the Commission’s proposal and together help the crypto-actives industry to carry the future great Europe of digital finance.

Simon Polrot, President of the Adan, said: “I’m happy to see a bespoke regime that considers crypto-assets specificities, but I’m also deeply concerned about the preservation of innovation in the EU. In its current form, the MiCA proposal attempts to cover every use case without considering the permissionless nature of the decentralised networks on which crypto-assets are built. This represents the key characteristic that creates innovative use cases and applications for crypto-assets. Finding the best balance between supervising and allowing crypto companies to thrive in Europe is not an easy task. We will work towards this goal.”

Let’s help the EU embrace the digital finance revolution!

Adan (Association pour le développement des actifs numériques) is a nonprofit bringing together and representing digital assets and blockchain professionals in France and Europe. Adan’s members cover a wide range of activities: digital asset markets, custody, payments, investment management, blockchain analysis tools, support for crypto/blockchain projects, IT security, etc. Adan’s mission is to promote the development of the crypto-assets industry in favour of a new digital economy.

Contact: Simon Polrot - simon.polrot@adan.eu