Circle Snags First Stablecoin License Under EU's New MiCA Crypto Rules

Circle Mint France will issue the euro-denominated EURC stablecoin and USDC in the European Union in compliance with MiCA.

AccessTimeIconJul 1, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 2, 2024 at 8:08 p.m. UTC
  • Circle is claiming bragging rights as the first global stablecoin issuer to comply with MiCA.
  • Before the rules took effect on June 30, some exchanges delisted euro-denominated stablecoins, such as Tether’s EURT.

Circle became the first global stablecoin issuer to secure an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license, a prerequisite to offering dollar- and euro-pegged crypto tokens in the European Union (EU) under the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory framework.

The license gives the company, whose USDC trails behind rival Tether's market-leading USDT, pole position in grabbing market share among the 27-nation trading bloc's 450 million people.

Stablecoins are a key piece of infrastructure in the digital asset market, facilitating trading on exchanges and, increasingly, used for transactions and remittances. Circle's $32 billion USDC is the second-largest stablecoin and the gap to market leader Tether's $110 billion USDT has been widening.

Armed with a license from the French banking regulatory authority, Circle Mint France will “onshore” the issuance of its euro-denominated EURC stablecoin to the EU and issue USDC from the same entity, the company said. Before MiCA's stablecoin rules took effect on June 30, some crypto exchanges delisted euro-denominated stablecoins, such as Tether’s EURT.

MiCA’s comprehensive stance on stablecoins was catalyzed by the specter of big tech, like Meta's Diem (formerly Libra) initiative, entering financial markets. That prompted five years of concerted policy development in Europe, said Circle’s head of policy, Dante Disparte, who was involved in the Libra project.

“Personally, I feel a little bit of a semi-parental relationship with MiCA because in some ways it was accelerated by my prior life and my prior project, Libra Diem,” Disparate said in an interview. “MiCA is both vindicating of the industry and its permanence, but it's also clear that there is no more shortcuts, at least not in the third-largest economy in the world. Gone are the days where you could operate in a regulatory haven or in the shadows and then expect to have liberal and free access to consumers and market participants.”

UPDATE (July 1, 15:15 UTC): Adds stablecoin utility, relative market caps of USDC, USDT in third paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


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Ian Allison

Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.

Krisztian  Sandor

Krisztian Sandor is a reporter on the U.S. markets team focusing on stablecoins and institutional investment. He holds BTC and ETH.