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EU’s ESMA issues key advisory on crypto regulation as firms eye expansion

In this post:

  • ESMA warned investment firms about crypto regulation.
  • The agency stressed investor protection risks in unregulated crypto assets.
  • Despite warnings, crypto firms like Gemini and Kraken are expanding in Ireland, awaiting EU’s new crypto rules under MiCA by 2025.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the EU’s financial watchdog, has issued a statement emphasizing the necessity of investment firms making their clients fully aware of the regulatory status of their products. Amid the budding blockchain industry, the ESMA is eager to remind stakeholders that despite the imminent adoption of the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA), cryptocurrencies will remain unregulated in most jurisdictions until the regulation comes into effect.

The ESMA has expressed concern over the potential risks associated with unregulated products and services, including the danger of misleading clients about the level of protection they receive. In the face of such prudential and investor protection risks, the ESMA urges firms to inform clients clearly about their products’ regulatory status and the protections applicable to their offerings.

A careful stride toward crypto regulation

Despite the regulatory uncertainties, crypto firms see the European Union, particularly Ireland, as an increasingly attractive destination to establish a foothold in the continent. Gemini, the crypto firm led by Cameron Winklevoss, has recently selected Ireland as its EU base. Kraken, another prominent crypto exchange, is also preparing to expand its European operations through its Dublin subsidiary.

Although the ESMA is wary of the risks of the unregulated crypto market, it acknowledges that the MiCA regulation, set to take effect in 2025, will usher in a new era of crypto regulation in the EU. Also, the regulation aims to create a legislative framework for crypto businesses, introducing stricter rules on stablecoins, additional disclosure obligations, and mandated anti-money laundering and data security procedures.

Nonetheless, the ESMA reiterates the potential risks, such as misled investors, product confusion, and mis-spelling, a practice of misleading information selling. Hence, it insists on firms acting fairly and professionally while providing unambiguous communication. The ESMA’s statement advises investment firms to avoid using their regulatory status as a promotional tool and differentiate between regulated and unregulated activities.

Looking forward

The ESMA’s statement underscores the urgency for clear communication and transparency in the rapidly evolving cryptocurrency market. As the MiCA regulation’s implementation draws near, the EU stands at a pivotal point in its approach to crypto regulation. Both investors and crypto businesses are advised to navigate the crypto landscape cautiously until the regulation takes effect, marking a significant milestone in the EU’s efforts to harness the potential of blockchain technology while mitigating the risks involved.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Ryan Salame
Cryptopolitan
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