Europe: unregulated stablecoins could remain accessible via the private market

Europe: unregulated stablecoins could remain accessible via the private market

While unregulated stablecoins will no longer be available to retail investors from 30 June, they could continue to be accessible via private markets.

While MiCA (Market in Crypto-Assets), designed to regulate crypto-assets at EU level, is scheduled to come into force from 30 December 2024, its stablecoin component will be effective from this summer, on 30 June. And to say there are still many details to be ironed out would be an understatement (read our article on the subject).

According to our information, discussions with the European Commission and representatives of the crypto industry have raised the possibility that unregulated stablecoins could continue to be accessible in Europe for investors via the private market.

"MiCA is intended to protect consumers and therefore only concerns offers to the public, i.e. to retail investors via centralised exchange platforms," a source in Brussels tells The Big Whale. "

Restricted access but still possible

For the moment, very few stablecoin issuers seem to be in line to operate in Europe. Among the giants of the sector, Circle (which issues USDC and EURC) has openly announced its intention to be regulated by becoming an electronic money institution (EME) in France. A licence will be required in order to operate in a regulated manner in any of the 27 countries of the European Union from this summer.

The Gemini exchange platform, founded by the Winklevoss brothers, and the Icelandic project Monerium already have such a licence. On the other hand, Tether, the market leader, has still not announced any desire to be regulated in Europe.

"I don't think MiCA will be able to encourage the emergence of a welcoming regulatory framework. Clearly, the message being sent is that Europe doesn't want crypto with regulation that largely limits access to it, especially for retail investors," said its CEO Paolo Ardoino in an interview with The Big Whale.

In anticipation, some exchange platforms such as Coinbase or OKX have announced that they will no longer support USDT in Europe, while others such as Kraken or Crypto(.)com are still stalling.

But let the most advanced users be reassured: while access to unregulated stablecoins for retail investors will no longer be possible from 30 June via centralised platforms, Europeans will still have access via decentralised exchange platforms such as Uniswap, as decentralised finance (DeFi) does not currently fall within the regulatory scope of MiCA.

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