There’s tension among crypto traders this week as the European Union convenes on a digital currency bill. The political body that presides over a vast majority of Western Europe is voting on a bill that can set the stage for crypto infrastructure for the brunt of the continent. Is Europe banning crypto? Not quite, but as the bill stands today, it could have far-reaching negative consequences for some of the biggest currencies.
Today is a massively important day for anybody with even a remote interest in cryptocurrency. The EU is closing in on one of the broadest regulatory measures digital currencies have seen in the western world. While much of the bill is fairly inoffensive, there’s one provision that sticks out like a sore thumb. This measure is causing a stalemate among voters, but it could be passed today. Here’s what to know.
Is Europe Banning Crypto? Not Exactly.
- The EU’s big news today comes from the long debated Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) proposal. This bill would set the infrastructure for cryptocurrency policy within the Union.
- Introduced in 2018, EU members have been back and forth on the terms and conditions of the final legislation.
- The bill seeks to bring a level of order to crypto trading in the EU, beginning with requirements for both crypto issuers as well as exchanges and other crypto-related platforms. For example, crypto projects will need to publish a white paper upon launch under legislation. Exchanges and other platforms will need to obtain government licensure before operating within the EU.
- Now, nearly four years since the inception of the proposal, the MiCA bill is reaching an EU vote today. However, some last minute amendments are sounding the alarms among crypto investors.
- Is Europe banning crypto? Well, not quite, but under one of these quickly added provisions, trading some of the largest cryptos in the world will be made impossible if MiCA is passed.
- The amendments target cryptocurrencies that utilize proof-of-work consensus mechanisms. Proof-of-work requires large amounts of computing power to authenticate transactions. Additionally, it’sthe consensus that enables crypto mining, where computers solve puzzles in order to mint new coins for a project.
- Proof-of-work has come under fire in the last year due largely to its massive power requirement compared to more energy-efficient mechanisms like proof-of-stake.
- With these last-minute measures, the MiCA bill targets proof-of-work cryptos, essentially barring trading of the assets within the EU. This would cut off many Europeans from some of the biggest cryptos, like Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and Ethereum (ETH-USD), both of which use proof-of-work.
- As the EU convenes to vote on the proposal today, investors are waiting with bated breath. Support for the bill is split mostly evenly among EU policymakers; it will be quite interesting to see where the vote goes. Still, if the bill passes, it will be subject to further discussion and bargaining in the post-vote trilogue meeting.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.