MiCA, considered a milestone in the world of crypto assets, was adopted by the European Parliament on April 20, 2023. MiCA aims to protect consumers and ensure financial stability across the European Union, while allowing for the innovative use of new financial technologies. This regulation is the first legal framework within the EU to govern crypto assets, and it is intended that all member states will comply with it.
Under the regulation, crypto assets are defined as "the digital representation of a value/right that can be electronically transferred and stored using distributed ledger technology or similar technology." MiCA also categorizes crypto assets into three distinct groups: asset-referenced tokens (ARTs), e-money tokens (EMTs), and other crypto assets.
Under the MiCA regulation:
- Crypto asset issuers must publish a "whitepaper" containing information on their activities, the characteristics of the crypto assets they issue, project timelines, risks, and other specific topics.
- Crypto asset service providers aiming to provide crypto asset services (such as investment advice, portfolio management, brokerage services, or trading platforms) to EU customers must obtain authorization from a local authority in Europe. Once authorized, these service providers will be able to operate within the EU.
- Crypto asset exchanges, custodians, and advisors operating in the European Union must obtain a license to provide certain crypto asset services defined in MiCA.
- Under the MiCA regulation, certain institutions and organizations that have already been authorized under other legal frameworks to provide crypto asset services will be exempted from certain requirements but will still need to undergo a separate authorization process. These institutions and organizations must provide their operational plans and other documents, and inform the national regulator at least 40 days before providing crypto asset services.
- The regulation also includes provisions that establish transparency, accountability, and governance requirements for crypto assets.
MiCA will be approved by the European Council in 2024 and will be implemented in two parts following its approval and publication in the Official Journal. The first part, which concerns stablecoins, is expected to be implemented in the second quarter of 2024, while the second part, which concerns crypto asset service providers, is expected to be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2024.