The introduction of the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation has brought a sense of cohesive direction to the European crypto industry. Where crypto assets had previously existed in a gray area, with firms and investors grappling with varied regulatory frameworks on a country-by-country basis, MiCA now promises widespread harmony.
Expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2024, MiCA regulations will influence and drive the dynamics between governments, communities and projects over the next 18 months as the Web3 scene continues to evolve and innovate. In the lead up to MiCA’s full implementation, we can expect to see the EU – and France in particular, for reasons mentioned below – as a core hub of this progressive movement. With Paris recently hosting the sixth annual EthCC, the first since the introduction of MiCA, this year’s iteration also feels especially significant in line with the recent surge in President Macron’s efforts to make France fertile ground for Web3 enterprise. Having already inspired Circle, Binance and Crypto.com to make Paris their base in Europe, France can point to three interrelated trends working in tandem to solidify the country's position as a leading hub of Web3 development. In short, collaborative regulators, a massive talent pool and healthy capital flows are underpinning the country's Web3 industry, and spearheading growth on a global stage.
Even before the introduction of MiCA, France’s attitude toward crypto regulation has been broadly supportive, inclusive and encouraging over the last several years. While other countries have tightened rules around digital assets (with some even banning crypto), President Macron has embraced the sector.
As part of his so-called 2030 plan, France has committed €30 billion to create the next “high-tech champions of the future.” Web3 accordingly is “an opportunity not to be missed,” and should be part of France's attempt to be a "leader of the future generations of the web.” Among the most beneficial policies Macron has passed have been tax cuts on crypto profits and a simplified registration processes with financial watchdogs.
This softer stance was seen during the build up to the EU’s vote on MiCA, when France started softening their approach to crypto licensing to give operators more time to cooperate with any new Europe-wide standards. The resultant flexible two-tier regime for registration leaves the decision to be fully licensed at the discretion of the registered company.
It's worth noting, these advances also came at a time when the U.K. announced plans to regulate crypto, marking a notable conscious push to distance itself from Europe and the pervading hostilities in the U.S.
When MiCA was passed, it was immediately welcomed by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), France's top financial overseer, who cited increased competitiveness and investor protection as obvious benefits to introducing sane crypto policies. The AMF soon after began to consider a fast track system that would get registered firms approved under the new rules.