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Circle Awarded Europe’s First Stablecoin License Under New MiCA Crypto Rules

Cryptocurrency firm Circle has achieved a significant milestone by securing registration as an electronic money institution (EMI) in France. This move grants Circle a crucial license to operate as a compliant stablecoin issuer under the European Union’s rigorous crypto laws. 

Circle Breakthrough

According to a CNBC report, the approved license positions Circle as the first global stablecoin issuer to achieve compliance with the European Union’s regulatory framework known as Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA). 

This framework, considered a cornerstone in the EU’s approach to governing cryptocurrencies, sets out comprehensive rules and obligations for crypto companies to ensure investor protection and safeguard against market manipulation.

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Circle’s acceptance into the MiCA regulatory framework means that both its USDC and Euro Coin (EURC) tokens can now be issued within the European Union while meeting the stablecoin regulatory obligations outlined by MiCA. 

Additionally, Circle is opening up its Circle Mint service, enabling businesses to mint and redeem Circle stablecoins, to customers in France.

Expressing his satisfaction with the achievement, Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle, emphasized the company’s longstanding commitment to building compliant and well-regulated infrastructure for stablecoins. He stated:

Our adherence to MiCA, which represents one of the most comprehensive crypto regulatory regimes in the world, is a huge milestone in bringing digital currency into mainstream scale and acceptance.

European Stablecoin Adoption

The EU’s MiCA law, which officially came into effect in May 2023, introduced the world’s first comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrency operations. 

Last week, provisions specifically governing stablecoins were approved, imposing stringent measures on trading volume limitations for certain stablecoins, particularly those denominated in US dollars.

As a registered EMI in France, Circle can now extend its services, including the minting and redemption of USDC through Circle Mint, not only to customers in France but also to individuals and businesses across the European Union. 

This is made possible by the concept of “passporting” outlined in MiCA, which allows crypto businesses to offer services in one EU country and expand into other markets within the bloc.

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While Circle’s achievement is commendable, it should be noted that additional obligations under MiCA about crypto asset service providers will become applicable by December 30, 2024. Crypto companies will then have until July 2026 to ensure full compliance with MiCA’s requirements.

Since its launch in September 2018 by Circle and crypto exchange Coinbase, USDC has gained significant traction and now holds the position of the second-largest stablecoin globally. 

According to CoinGecko data, USDC’s circulation amounts to $32.4 billion, trailing only Tether’s USDT, which holds the title of the world’s largest stablecoin with a circulation of $112.7 billion.

The 1-D chart shows the total crypto market cap’s valuation at $2.2 trillion. Source: TOTAL on TradingView.com

Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com 

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