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19 Jul 2024

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MiCA: Another Step Closer to Global Regulation

MiCA: Another Step Closer to Global Regulation 

By Ilya Volkov, CEO and co-founder of YouHodler

The upcoming implementation of the first titles of the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) Regulation on June 30 is undoubtedly a pivotal moment for the crypto industry in the European Union and beyond.

This innovative framework, covering all 27 member states of the EU, aims to address the long-standing issue of regulatory fragmentation: the crypto market operates globally but has been regulated locally.

Over the past decade, the lack of uniform regulations has intimidated companies and investors, hindering the development of the crypto industry. Now, through comprehensive rules and guidelines, MiCA offers an international solution that regulates business operations while enhancing transparency. More importantly, besides regulating the EU market, it also serves as an example for other jurisdictions to learn from and follow.

The Role of Stablecoins

The initial phase of MiCA’s implementation is mainly about stablecoins, a critical component of the crypto ecosystem. These tokens facilitate trading by providing a universally accepted means of exchange without the hassle of crypto-fiat conversion. With stablecoins, platforms can offer faster, cheaper, and more convenient payment solutions, especially for cross-border transactions.

As MiCA comes into effect, only regulated stablecoins will be permitted for use in the EU, which requires a series of actions for many companies and users. For YouHodler and other companies serving EU customers, the most pressing task is updating existing products and services to meet MiCA’s requirements. For users who are EU residents, it is crucial to  convert non-compliant stablecoins to regulated ones like USDC. This conversion ensures maximum stability and will not impact the value of digital assets.

MiCA-Compliant Platforms Vs. Offshore Platforms

With the new rules approaching, discussions about «workarounds» are heating up on social media, and our customer support team has also seen many similar questions: Should I move my stablecoins to offshore platforms so I can continue to use my unregulated stablecoins? 

The short answer is no, and here’s why:

First, MiCA’s primary goal is to protect investors through its comprehensive requirements and standards for companies serving EU customers. Its robust clauses aim to eliminate unqualified players that pose risks to your assets and the market. By staying on a MiCA-compliant platform, you will be protected by the latest market regulations. On the opposite, using unregulated stablecoins on offshore platforms is very dangerous as it exposes users to legal and financial risks, including the potential freezing of assets by authorities.

Second, you do not suffer any loss when you convert your unregulated stablecoins to regulated ones. Stablecoins are designed to be stable in value, and the conversion is mainly a change in the ticker symbol, and your wealth stays intact. For example, when you convert USDT to USDC, your assets will remain the same dollar amount.

Third, many compliant platforms are now offering incentives to encourage the timely conversion of stablecoins. These limit-time offers are legitimate and slightly boost your asset value. Why wait when you can take advantage?

Navigating the Future

MiCA is poised to enhance consumer protection and foster a more transparent crypto market, building trust and confidence among all participants. Of course, it is far from flawless. The framework still has several gaps, particularly in decentralized finance (DeFi). Also, regulators must amend some details and adapt to the industry’s nuances. While MiCA draws from the wisdom of traditional financial regulations, the grandparents’ rules may only partially apply to a young industry like crypto. Our industry needs innovative approaches, but MiCA has provided a good start.

Looking ahead, the market is facing an immediate challenge caused by the limited availability and liquidity of regulated stablecoins. Right now, the list of regulated stablecoins is quite short. However, this is just a temporary situation. As the industry adapts to MiCA, we expect to see an increase in the number of regulated stablecoins, enhancing liquidity to meet market demands.

On a global scale, MiCA will inspire regulatory innovation in other regions. As more jurisdictions consider adopting such regulations, companies should be prepared for potential changes and work diligently to meet new legal requirements. By navigating these regulations proactively, we can get closer to global market regulation and, from there, the mass adoption of crypto and blockchain.

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