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European Union countries have agreed to the world’s first comprehensive set of rules to regulate crypto in the wake of the FTX Collapse


European Union countries on Tuesday gave the final nod to the world’s first comprehensive set of rules for regulating crypto assets, piling pressure on countries like Britain and the United States to play catch-up.

A meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels agreed the scrapped rules with the European Parliament, which approved it in April.

Cryptocurrency regulation has become more urgent for regulators after the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

“Recent events have underscored the urgent need to impose rules that will better protect Europeans who have invested in these assets, and prevent misuse of the digital currency industry for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes,” said Elisabeth Svantesson, Sweden’s Minister of Finance. who holds the presidency of the European Union.

The rules require companies that want to issue, trade, and protect crypto assets, tokenized assets, and stablecoins in the 27-country bloc to obtain a license.

Cryptocurrency companies say they want certainty in regulation, pressure on countries to copy EU rules, and on regulators to come up with global standards for cross-border activity.

Britain has outlined a phased approach, starting with stablecoins and expanding to unbacked crypto assets later, but there is no firm timeline.

The United States has focused on using existing securities rules for enforcement action in this sector while deciding whether to introduce new customized rules and who will apply them.

Hester Pearce, one of the commissioners at the US derivatives regulator, the CFTC, said last week that a number of federal and state authorities are trying to figure out what regulatory role they can play in the cryptocurrency sector.

“We’re wandering around the desert a little bit,” Peres said at a conference.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.