ESMA publishes first consultation on Markets in Crypto-Assets regulation

Developed following an observable lack of uniform rules around the relatively new asset class, ESMA is seeking input on MiCA’s proposed rules for crypto-asset service providers.

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has published its first consultation package on the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, inviting feedback from stakeholders by 20 September.

MiCA will cover crypto-assets that are not regulated by existing financial services legislation and is based on the principle of passporting, requiring operators in the space to obtain a single licence to provide crypto-asset services across member states of the EU.

The regulation was developed following increased demand for crypto products and the observable lack of uniform rules around the relatively new asset class.

In the first of three consultation packages, the EU watchdog stated that it is seeking input on proposed rules for crypto-asset service providers (CASPs), related to their authorisation, identification and management of conflicts of interests, as well as how CASPs should address complaints.

ESMA is also looking to gain insight on respondents’ current and planned activities to improve its understanding on crypto-asset markets within the EU and their future development. This will include questions related to expected turnover of the respondents, the amount of whitepapers they plan to publish and the use of on-chain versus off-chain trading.

The EU regulator stated that this aspect of the consultation will remain confidential and will serve to calibrate certain proposals to be inserted in the second and third consultation package. 

“This first consultation package is an important milestone for ESMA in the implementation of the MiCA framework. It translates our ambition to set high regulatory standards in the EU for crypto-asset related activities into concrete requirements,” said Verena Ross, chair of ESMA.

“We are determined to ensure entities involved in crypto-asset related activities understand that the EU is not a place for forum-shopping. We also want to remind consumers that, even with the implementation of MiCA, there will be no such thing as a safe crypto-asset.”

Feedback from this consultation will be considered by ESMA, with the expectation to publish a final report and submit the draft technical standards to the European Commission for endorsement by 30 June 2024.

The full consultation package can be accessed here.