In a move aimed at regulating the rapidly growing cryptocurrency market, the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) was introduced by the European Union (EU) last year. While the intentions behind MiCA are commendable, legal experts are expressing concerns that the stablecoin transaction cap imposed by the regulation could hinder the adoption and development of cryptocurrencies.
Lawyers argue that unless the MiCA’s stablecoin cap is changed, the imposition of a $216 million transaction cap on stablecoins like USDT and USDC could potentially hinder crypto adoption. Stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to a stable asset like a fiat currency, have gained significant popularity due to their potential to provide stability in a highly volatile market.
MiCA’s Transaction Caps Raise Concerns for Stablecoin Use
Lawyers are expressing concerns that the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) legislation, with its daily transaction caps, could impede the utilization of stablecoins and are calling for a revision of the regulatory framework. MiCA, signed into law on May 31, introduced the world’s first regulatory guidance on cryptocurrencies, which has now taken effect.
Although the legislation received positive reception within the crypto industry, one of its more contentious provisions is the introduction of a daily transaction cap of $219 million (200 million euros) for private stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and Circle’s USD Coin (USDC).
Lawyers Advocate Revisiting Daily Limits to Prevent Stifling of Stablecoin Use
In an interview with Cointelegraph, Chander Agnihotri, Legal Director, and Rachel Cropper-Mawer, Partner at global law firm Clyde & Co, expressed their concerns that the utilization of large stablecoins could face significant limitations and become “quickly stifled.” The lawyers emphasized the need for regulators to reassess the daily transaction limits to ensure a more conducive environment for stablecoin use.
Stablecoins were introduced as a means to mitigate the price volatility of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), currently valued at $30,086, and Ether (ETH), currently valued at $1,855. These digital assets are designed to replicate the value of fiat currencies, primarily the U.S. dollar. Following the collapse of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin UST in May 2022 and the temporary de-pegging of USDC after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in early 2023, Agnihotri argued that regulators’ intensified focus on regulating private stablecoins is justified.
“On account of their stronger links to the traditional financial system — through the use of reserves — regulators have been particularly concerned by the possible impact that the failure of a larger stablecoin may have.”
Legal Experts Anticipate Stifled Use of Stablecoins and Potential Rise of CBDCs
According to Cropper-Mawer, the 200 million MiCA’s stablecoin cap is not equivalent to a ban. If the transaction threshold is exceeded, issuers will be obligated to halt further issuance activities and collaborate with regulators to bring transactions within the prescribed limit. Nevertheless, Cropper-Mawer pointed out that as private stablecoins gain increasing popularity, it is expected that the use of certain larger stablecoins will face stifling limitations.
Considering the potential dampening effect of the current regulations on stablecoin usage, Cropper-Mawer suggested that it would be sensible to anticipate a more rapid growth of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) than would otherwise be the case.
If the relatively unfettered use of stablecoins is permitted in other jurisdictions, this could adversely impact the crypto market in the EU.
Tether’s Perspective on MiCA
Tether’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, expressed the need for ongoing discussions and potential revisions to the framework before implementing the guidelines for private stablecoin providers. Arduino stated, “It is crucial to engage in further discussions regarding the technical implementation standards to provide clarity to the market regarding specific provisions. We eagerly await the outcomes of these discussions in the near future.”
Ardoino refrained from providing specific comments on how the legislation might impact the trading of USDT in Europe. However, he commended MiCA as a praiseworthy initiative and described the legislation as arguably the most comprehensive the industry has seen to date. While acknowledging that the daily trading cap may affect private stablecoins like USDT, Ardoino highlighted that “the legislation specifies that these limits are applicable when the stablecoin is used for certain purposes.”
The introduction of MiCA’s stablecoin cap has sparked discussions and raised concerns within the crypto industry. While the stablecoin transaction cap has drawn criticism for potentially stifling adoption, legal experts emphasize the need for ongoing dialogue and revisions to strike a balance between regulation and innovation. The success of MiCA will depend on effective enforcement and continuous adaptation to the evolving crypto landscape.