Ex-CFTC Chairman Sees Europe’s MiCA Bill as Threat to US Crypto Industry

Chris Giancarlo says the United States should take the lead in regulating digital assets.

AccessTimeIconJul 28, 2022 at 7:37 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 6:16 p.m. UTC

NEW YORK – Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chief Chris Giancarlo is worried that the European Union's fast-moving Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill could lead to the global export of European-style crypto regulation, hurting U.S. regulators’ ability to effectively create rules of their own.

The landmark legal framework, which hasn't been made law yet, aims to provide regulatory clarity to the growing crypto industry in Europe.

“I’m very concerned with the rapidity of MiCA’s evolution,” Giancarlo said at Solidus Labs’ annual DACOM summit in New York on Thursday. “It’s got some very expansive provisions that would, in a sense, export its approach to crypto assets to the United States.”

As the U.S. struggles to provide regulatory clarity to the domestic crypto industry, global regulatory frameworks like MiCA could fill the gap. CFTC Commissioner Caroline Pham, who recently relaunched the CFTC’s Global Markets Advisory Committee, told attendees on Thursday that market structures, once set, are extremely difficult to change.

“Once those market structures change and shift and harden and all that enormous money and investment of capital comes into those new market structures, it’s very hard to change it back,” Pham said.

Several crypto bills have been introduced in Congress, but efforts to establish a regulatory framework have been slow.

“Congress does need to continue its momentum,” Giancarlo said. “We need to get our own framework out there, and our framework needs to make clear that for U.S. activities there will be U.S. regulation, not regulation coming out of Europe. I have great respect for Europe, but their markets are very different.”

Pham said, “It’s so important that we are rule makers, not rule takers."

UPDATE (July 28, 19:48 UTC): Added new lead photo of Pham and Giancarlo.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.