The European Union (EU) has taken a significant step forward in cryptoasset regulation as EU member states granted final approval to the world’s first comprehensive set of rules according to a report by Reuters. This development puts pressure on countries like Britain and the United States to catch up in the regulatory landscape. The decision was made during an EU finance minister meeting in Brussels, where the rules previously negotiated with the European Parliament received their official endorsement in April.
The implementation of these regulations is expected to commence from 2024, signifying a crucial milestone in the drive to regulate the crypto industry. The collapse of crypto exchange FTX has intensified the urgency for regulators to establish robust measures in safeguarding investors and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. Elisabeth Svantesson, the finance minister for Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, emphasized the need for rules that protect European citizens and ensure responsible conduct within the crypto sector.
Under the approved rules, companies operating within the 27 EU member states will be required to obtain a license if they intend to issue, trade, or secure cryptoassets, tokenized assets, or stablecoins. In an effort to combat tax evasion and money laundering, the ministers also implemented measures to enhance transaction traceability. Starting from January 2026, service providers will be mandated to collect information on the senders and beneficiaries of cryptoasset transfers, irrespective of the transaction amount.
Furthermore, the EU states reached an agreement to amend taxation rules, ensuring effective collaboration among member countries in regulating transactions involving cryptoassets. Additionally, they will exchange information on advance tax rulings pertaining to high-net-worth individuals. These decisions reflect the EU’s commitment to fostering transparency and cooperation in the taxation of crypto-related activities.
Crypto firms have expressed the need for regulatory certainty, prompting other countries to consider emulating the EU’s comprehensive framework. This puts pressure on regulators worldwide to establish consistent global norms for cross-border crypto transactions. While countries like Britain have outlined a phased approach to regulation, starting with stablecoins before expanding to un-backed cryptoassets, there is no definitive timetable for implementation. In the United States, existing securities rules are being utilized for enforcement actions, while regulators deliberate on the introduction of bespoke regulations and the relevant enforcement entities.
As the crypto industry continues to evolve, authorities around the world are grappling with the task of defining their oversight roles. Hester Peirce, a commissioner at the U.S. derivatives regulator CFTC, acknowledged the ongoing efforts of federal and state authorities in determining their supervisory responsibilities within the crypto sector. However, the regulatory landscape remains uncertain, and further developments are needed to provide clarity and establish a robust regulatory framework.