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The Big Whale: After more than 18 months of work, the MiCA regulation has just been finally adopted by the European Parliament. Why is this good news?
The crypto industry is still very young. On a global scale, there is no clear regulation. With MiCA, Europe is the first to have a text and a framework, so it is taking the leadership.
It is often said that the United States innovates, China produces and Europe regulates. Is this not still the case?
Things are changing. Europe is regulating and that's a good thing, but it will also innovate and produce, especially in the field of cryptos! We must not neglect the importance of regulation. If Europe creates this framework, it will succeed in imposing its standards. MiCA is only the first step in the transformation of the European financial and technological system. The text only regulates the part on tokens, stablecoins and service providers.
Everything else, i.e. decentralized finance, NFTs, metavers, lending or staking are not really concerned... And it is more broadly the question of the application of everything related to blockchain in the so-called "traditional" financial universe. How to tokenize financial assets? How to put shares on the blockchain? This is what Europe will be working on.
What do you say to those who consider that MiCA will harm the European crypto ecosystem?
They are wrong. The whole world is watching what Europe is doing on cryptos. This summer, a group of European parliamentarians went to the United States to see officials from the Federal Reserve (Fed), the Security Exchange Commission (SEC), elected officials from Congress to talk to them about MiCA, to explain what Europe is doing. And guess what? One of the people in charge of the future US legislation on cryptos told us that he was inspired by... MiCA. This is what we call the "Brussels effect", it's a very important soft power.
I think MiCA will have the same impact as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). In 2016, many people were wondering about the RGPD, about its impact. With hindsight, we can see that this text has become a reference on a global scale with all the major groups, particularly American, being forced to comply with it to stay in Europe.
How can we be sure? How to measure the impact of regulation?
Take the case of an American company that wants to come to Europe. In order to set up shop here, it must respect certain standards and obligations, which will force it to change its operations. European legislation will be "exported" to the world via foreign companies.
How do you explain that the United States or China have not taken the lead if it is so important?
What Europe is doing is not simply offering legal security to crypto players. It is creating and structuring a new market. I know that MiCA is not the best possible regulation. There are things to improve, but at least we have a regulation, and therefore a market!
The United States has no market. Go ask an American who works in crypto what he thinks of the US. He'll tell you what everyone else is saying: no one is safe from a sanction from the SEC boss. Gary Gensler can intervene at any time.
How can you say that there is no market in the United States?
In the US, they are trying to fit everyone into traditional financial regulation. In Europe, we have not opted for the same approach: MiCA is a completely new framework, adapted to cryptos and tokens.
In recent months the ECB has made good progress on the digital euro project. What do you think about it? Aren't there any issues, especially in terms of privacy protection?
MiCA is not about central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and the ECB is independent of politics, at least directly. I understand very well the concerns about the digital euro, but nobody is capable of retrieving and processing the data of 500 million people. We are playing with fear. It's like the digital yuan. How do you expect them to be able to track more than 1.2 billion people? They will never manage it.