Risk Advisory

Crypto regulation: Introduction of MiCA into the EU regulatory landscape

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Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) will become applicable for issuers of e-money tokens on 30 June 2024 and for Crypto Asset Service Providers (CASPs) on 30 December 2024. 

The regulation addresses a wide range of crypto assets previously outside the scope of existing EU financial services legislation.

MiCA covers crypto-assets which at a high level are classified into three types: 

  1. Asset-referenced tokens (ARTs)
  2. Electronic money tokens (EMTs) 
  3. Crypto-assets other than ARTs or EMTs (Other Tokens).

EU considers both ARTs and EMTs as stablecoins. 

Licensing Requirements

Digital finance is moving more in line with regulatory footing of traditional finance. Licence applications are just the beginning of this journey.

The licensing requirements under MiCA are broadly similar to requirements under the existing EU financial services regimes, including requirements relating to disclosures, anti-money rules, governance and licensing.

However, as there are nuances between MiCA and the existing regime, firms engaging in crypto asset activities will need to consider whether they will fall under the MiCA definition of "cryptoassets" or whether they are subject to another regulation, to ensure that they adhere to the appropriate regulation, in particular for transferable securities which may constitute a financial instrument falling under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II).


European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Consultation Paper relating to MiCA released in July 2023 outlines key requirements for a successful application.

Ireland has granted a 12-month transitional period for CASPs which will give firms more time to become authorised. This compares to Italy who granted a 10-month and France an 18-month transitional period.

CBI will host an industry briefing event in the coming weeks on their authorisation process.

Firms that are already authorised will not generally need to seek another authorisation under MiCA, provided that they meet certain disclosure requirements including a requirement to notify their competent authorities of the services they intend to provide with respect to crypto assets. 

However, requirements under MiCA are nuanced from equivalent requirements under MiFID and other existing legislation so such firms must still undertake a detailed analysis of their crypto activities to see what is caught by MiCA vs other existing legislation and to consider where changes to existing policies are needed or additional requirements might apply accordingly.

DORA & Digital Finance

MiCA forms part of the European Commission's wider digital finance strategy, which also includes a Regulation on digital operational resilience (DORA) – which will also cover CASPs - and a new regulation on a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) pilot regime focused on financial market infrastructures based on DLT.

EBA Technical Standards and Guidance

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published a package of technical standards and guidelines under MiCA Regulation on prudential matters, namely own funds, liquidity requirements, and recovery plans. This will help foster a well-regulated market for asset-referenced and e-money tokens and achieve a structured prudential framework for EU financial institutions.

Grant Thornton’s Risk Advisory

Grant Thornton advisors are best positioned to support your firm in understanding:

  • Licensing requirements
  • Application process
  • Technical standards and guidance.

Our team consists of experienced regulatory, compliance and risk management advisors who have held senior leading positions in industry and in regulation across UK, Canada and Ireland.

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