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European Central Bank Votes Today On Crypto Regulation Amid Sanctions On Russia

The European Central Bank’s president, Christine Lagarde, has called on policymakers and legislative experts to form and approve a regulatory framework on crypto for its jurisdiction and member countries.

This action by the European Central Bank is in response to the current crisis escalating from Russia’s imperialist aggression towards Ukraine. With new sanctions placed and targeted towards Russian banks and energy firms that are aimed to inhibit European firms from providing loans or credit lines, as well as the sale of securities to their Russian counterparts, the move can be seen as part of part of a broader set of sanctions from across the globe that have been placed in response to the current conflict.

“It’s so critically important that MiCA is pushed through as quickly as possible so we have a regulatory framework within which crypto assets can actually be caught,” stated Christine Lagarde.

Lagarde is referring to “markets in crypto assets” (MiCA), a term that has been around since at least 2015, which was when the European Commission and its regulatory board supervised by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) first proposed and later imposed a ruling which clarified its position on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“[The] ‘bitcoin’ virtual currency, being a contractual means of payment, cannot be regarded as a current account or a deposit account, a payment or a transfer. Moreover, unlike a debt, cheques and other negotiable instruments referred to in Article 135(1)(d) of the VAT Directive, the ‘bitcoin’ virtual currency is a direct means of payment between the operators that accept it,” the CJEU stated.

The regulatory framework on crypto was hinted at by Lagarde during an informal gathering among economics and finance ministers, in which Lagarde shared how the European Central Bank has resolved to be decisive and rigourous on the matter of implementing sanctions on Russia.

“Whenever there is a ban or prohibition or a mechanism in place to boycott or prohibit, there are always criminal ways that will try to circumvent the prohibition or the ban. It’s so critically important that MiCA is pushed through as quickly as possible so we have a regulatory framework within which crypto assets can actually be caught.” says Lagarde.

The MiCA framework was formally introduced to the European Commission in September 2020, and was later adopted by the European Council in November 2021. Rapporteur Stefan Berge announced, however, that concerns on how the proposal will be misinterpreted as a blanket ban on proof-of-work crypto mining operations. The proposal will again be put up to vote for implementation on February 28th.

Note: This story is currently developing and CryptoDaily will update this article with relevant information when available and as the matter unfolds.

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