The outline of the anticipated EU legislative framework for markets in crypto-assets is becoming clearer and the European Commission is preparing to publish a legislative proposal by the end of September. The legislative initiative on markets with crypto-assets fall within the broader Commission policy initiative on digital finance, which will also include a legislative proposal on operational resilience of the financial services sector. Through regulating the Commission aims to increase legal certainty and consumer and investor protection while at the same time ensuring financial stability.
In respect of the content of the upcoming proposal, it is expected that the draft legislation would contain at least the following elements: (1) a bespoke legislative regime for markets in crypto-assets (MiCA) and crypto-asset service providers not covered elsewhere in the EU financial services regime; (2) a pilot regime for distributed ledger technology (DLT) market infrastructures for crypto-assets qualifying as financial instruments, and; (3) amendments to the definition of “financial instruments” under MiFID II.
Four main objectives
The Commission has ambitious plans to establish a single European framework which will enable companies and investors operating in Europe to take advantage – on a secure legal foundation – of the potential of a wide range of crypto-assets.
The proposal “which covers crypto-assets outside existing EU financial services legislation, as well as e-money tokens” has four main objectives:
“The first objective is one of legal certainty. For crypto-asset markets to develop within the EU, there is a need for a sound legal framework, clearly defining the regulatory treatment of all crypto-assets that are not covered by existing financial services legislation.
The second objective is to support innovation. To promote the development of crypto-assets and the wider use of DLT, it is necessary to put in place a safe and proportionate framework to support innovation and fair competition.
The third objective is to instil appropriate levels of consumer and investor protection and market integrity given that crypto-assets not covered by existing financial services legislation present many of the same risks as more familiar financial instruments.
The fourth objective is to ensure financial stability.
The leaked draft is available here