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The EU Proposes Regulations Tightening Controls on External Crypto Firms

Recently, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) put forth strict guidelines for cryptocurrency businesses located outside of the European Union (EU) that wish to provide direct customer service to EU clients. The action is in line with the EU’s MiCA regulatory framework for cryptocurrency markets, which was adopted last year and attempts to stop unfair competition. MiCA marks a major advancement in a sector where effective regulation has previously been hampered by national borders.

The most recent recommendations center on guiding regulators and cryptocurrency companies regarding the actual application of MiCA regulations to non-EU organizations that want to offer services to EU clients without having a physical presence within the EU. According to ESMA, MiCA restricts a third-country company’s capacity to provide crypto-asset services to scenarios in which the client is the sole requestor, a procedure known as reverse solicitation. EU officials already use reverse solicitation in other banking legislation to encourage foreign corporations to establish branches or subsidiaries in the EU.

ESMA noted that the exemption for reverse solicitation is narrowly defined and should be viewed as an exceptional circumstance. The proposed regulations specifically forbid a third-country company from actively seeking business in the EU, including conducting marketing efforts within the 27-nation bloc. Moreover, a non-EU company cannot use the exemption to provide extra services unless they are needed in the same situation as the initial transaction.

The proposed rules are presently available for public comment through the end of April 2024, and the final draft should be available by the end of the year.

ESMA declared that it would take all necessary steps, along with national regulators across the EU, to aggressively safeguard investors headquartered in the EU and MiCA-compliant crypto-asset service providers against unwarranted intrusions by non-EU and non-MiCA-compliant businesses.

Apart from these actions, the proposal has a second section that clarifies how cryptocurrency assets are classified. Certain cryptocurrency assets might be governed by MiFID regulations since they are deemed “financial instruments,” similar to bonds or stocks. This demonstrates the EU’s resolve to provide strong monitoring and efficient regulation of the cryptocurrency market.

External businesses must abide by these regulations or think about establishing a physical presence within the European Union. Moreover, these changes will have a dramatic effect on the cryptocurrency market as businesses maneuver through the changing legal environment to stay in business within the EU.

Crypto companies such as Canaan Inc. (NASDAQ: CAN) expect regulations in different countries and blocs to keep evolving since the industry is still relatively new, and countries are scrambling to come up with mechanisms to oversee the fast-growing sector.

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