The parliament of the European Union has scheduled a vote on a framework aimed at regulating cryptocurrencies after addressing concerns over proof-of-work mining.
In a Monday Twitter thread, European Parliament Committee on Economics and Monetary Affairs member Stefan Berger said the committee will vote on the Markets in Crypto Assets, or MiCA, framework on March 14 following the submission of a final draft of the bill. As the rapporteur — the person appointed to report on proceedings related to the bill — Berger said the legislation will no longer include text that some had interpreted as a possible ban on proof-of-work crypto mining.
“With MiCA, the EU can set global standards,” said Berger. “Therefore, all those involved are now asked to support the submitted draft & to vote for MiCA. Strong support for MiCA is a strong signal from the EU Parliament for a technology-neutral and innovation-friendly financial sector.”
Heute habe ich den finalen MiCA-Entwurf eingereicht. Der ECON-Ausschuss wird am 14. März 2022 hierüber abstimmen
➡️ Thread #MiCA March 7, 2022
The rapporteur added that the regulation aimed to provide “legal certainty” and establish “reliable supervisory structures” for crypto assets amid concerns around the energy consumption of mining. However, the committee will still have discussions on the bill with the European Council and the European Commission following the vote.
The MiCA bill, first introduced to the European Commission in September 2020 and adopted by the European Council in November 2021, aimed “to create a regulatory framework for the crypto-assets market that supports innovation and draws on the potential of crypto-assets in a way that preserves financial stability and protects investors.” Berger postponed a committee vote on the bill originally scheduled for Feb. 28, citing the need to clarify “the question of proof-of-work” in discussions with stakeholders.
The global crypto derivatives and spot trading exchange FTX is expanding to Europe after receiving approval from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
The new venture, called FTX Europe, would offer leading products of the company to the European clients via a licensed investment firm across the European economic area. The new European venture is headquartered in Switzerland along with a regional headquarters in Cyprus.
Cyprus is seen as one of the reputed jurisdictions that offers a regulated medium for financial firms to access the European economic area. Thus, FTX would be able to offer its derivative crypto products as well, which is a big breakthrough, given Binance had to shut all crypto derivatives products last year across Europe.
Sam Bankman Fried said their new venture will be “interacting with regulators in various countries across Europe to continue to provide a safe and secure environment for people to trade crypto."
The exchange claimed that their launch in Europe in a regulated manner would be key to their further expansion in the region. The exchange aims to maintain interactions with regulators in various countries across Europe to build a safe a secure ecosystem to trade crypto. FTX didn’t respond to requests for comments from Cointelegraph at press time.
The global crypto exchange currently valued at $32 billion, is looking to expand its scope of services to new regions as well as fund and build nascent crypto ecosystems including such as GameFi and play-to-earn.
The global crypto exchange recently announced a $2 billion venture capital fund to support development for Web3 across social, gaming, fintech, software and healthcare.
The United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, a bureau of the Treasury Department, has warned financial institutions to consider crypto as a possible means Russia may attempt to use to evade sanctions related to the country’s military action in Ukraine.
In a Monday alert, FinCEN reminded U.S.-based financial institutions “with visibility into cryptocurrency” and convertible virtual currency, or CVC, to report any activity that could be considered a potential way for Russia to evade sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies. While the U.S. watchdog said that the Russian government using CVCs to evade large scale sanctions was “not necessarily practicable,” financial institutions were obligated to report such activities from Russian and Belarusian individuals named in actions that many have dubbed “economic warfare.”
“In the face of mounting economic pressure on Russia, it is vitally important for U.S. financial institutions to be vigilant about potential Russian sanctions evasion, including by both state actors and oligarchs,” said Him Das, who has been the FinCEN acting director since August 2021. “Although we have not seen widespread evasion of our sanctions using methods such as cryptocurrency, prompt reporting of suspicious activity contributes to our national security and our efforts to support Ukraine and its people.”
Many U.S. lawmakers and agencies have spoken out on Russia-based individuals and banks potentially attempting to use crypto to evade the sanctions announced by President Joe Biden on Feb. 24. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control — the agency responsible for administering and enforcing U.S. sanctions — warned U.S. residents on Feb. 28 not to use digital currencies to benefit Russia’s government or central bank. OFAC’s guidelines equated crypto transactions to “deceptive or structured transactions or dealings.”
U.S. and EU lawmakers have also been calling attention to the potential of Russia using crypto assets as the country’s options dwindle amid being cut off from SWIFT payments network and its major banks named on sanctions lists. Bloomberg reported on Monday that President Biden will sign an executive order creating a comprehensive regulatory framework on cryptocurrencies sometime this week in response to the escalating military situation in Ukraine.
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