EU’s ESMA edges closer to crypto regulations with latest MiCA report; seeks public feedback

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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has moved to the final phase of establishing a regulated environment for crypto assets in the EU with the publication of its latest report on the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation. 

The ESMA has submitted the report to the 27-member bloc’s executive arm, the European Commission.  According to ESMA, the commission “will provide further advice and technical guidance in this area if requested.”

The report covers essential key policies such as the information required for the authorization of crypto-asset service providers (CASPs), the process for financial entities to notify their intent to offer crypto-asset services, standards for assessing noteworthy acquisitions in CASPs, and the mechanisms for handling complaints within such entities.

One of the report’s main goals is to ensure a level playing field for all market participants, promoting fair competition among CASPs.  The primary focal point will be enhancing investor protection throughout the EU. 

The Securities and Markets Stakeholder Group of ESMA has supported this goal. The group has advocated for equal regulatory scrutiny for both traditional financial intermediaries and those providing crypto-asset services.

To further this objective, the group has also recommended a “two-track approach” for the notification and authorization processes. This strategy will reportedly streamline the regulatory requirements for all entities involved. 

Further, the ESMA has also announced its third consultation package. The consultation is seeking public feedback on proposed rules targeting the detection and reporting of suspected market abuse in the crypto sector. 

It will also evaluate policies for crypto-asset transfer services and establish suitability requirements for certain crypto-asset services. Additionally, the consultation looks to enhance ICT operational resilience for firms under MiCA. 

The ESMA will be accepting comments till June 25, 2024. Meanwhile, the European Banking Authority (EBA) has been actively consulting on MiCA regulation measures since its finalization in 2023. The agency also collaborated with the ESMA earlier in March to announce draft regulations for multi-currency stablecoins issuers.

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