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Europe's Crypto Framework and Base's Testing Challenges

GB Market Commentary 08/06/2023

by Marcus Sotiriou

Europe's Regulatory Approach Could Give It an Edge

While the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) intensifies its actions against major crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase, European officials are showcasing a new crypto framework called Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA). The EU's regulatory approach of setting clear rules upfront has some experts speculating that it could position Europe as a competitive player in the crypto market.

MiCA Law Draws Crypto Businesses to Europe

The EU's MiCA law is attracting crypto businesses seeking clarity and a safe environment to grow and manage risks. The law provides a tailor-made regime for the crypto sector, which proponents argue is a better fit for the nature of cryptocurrencies. Some businesses are considering shifting their operations to Europe due to the uncertainties surrounding U.S. regulations.

Contrasting Regulatory Strategies: Enforcement vs. Legislation

The SEC's recent suits against Binance and Coinbase highlight the different approaches to regulation between the U.S. and Europe. The SEC argues that certain crypto assets qualify as securities and should be subject to registration. In contrast, the EU has opted for legislation with MiCA, aiming to create a regulatory environment that aligns with the nature of crypto assets.

U.K. Lawmakers Divided on Crypto Regulation

In the United Kingdom, lawmakers are divided on how to approach crypto regulation. The House of Commons Treasury Select Committee suggested treating crypto as gambling due to its price volatility and lack of intrinsic value. However, the All Party Parliamentary Group for crypto assets supports the government's proposal to regulate crypto as financial services. The debates emphasize the need for comprehensive regulation to protect consumers and foster innovation.

Base Network Faces Testing Challenges

Coinbase's Layer 2 network, Base, encountered critical stress points during its Builder Quest period. The surge in activity revealed design and infrastructure issues that the team is actively addressing. Adjustments to block gas limits and transaction batching presented challenges, requiring the team to fine-tune parameters for stability. Base, built on Optimism's development software stack, aims to be a rollup network and a potential default Layer 2 solution for Coinbase.

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