As US House Efforts to Push Crypto Oversight Ramp Up, EU Move in Cards?

With House Republicans continuing to push their crypto agendas in the state, industry participants are once again paying attention to MiCA in the European Union

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rarrarorro/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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A trio of US House Republicans are on the offensive against federal cryptocurrency regulations efforts again, saying they are “demanding information related to potential coordinated efforts by the agencies to deny banking services to digital asset firms and the ecosystem as a whole.”

The broadside effort undertaken by Reps. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.; Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.; and French Hill, R-Ark., marks one of the latest attempts at the US federal level to push for digital asset regulation this year. And it comes at a time when a growing number of prominent US-based crypto companies are establishing outposts overseas — or going as far as saying they’ll move their headquarters outside of the US altogether. 

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In a joint statement, the US politicians referenced recent letters they sent to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, as well as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell; plus FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg. Michael Hsu, who holds the title of acting comptroller of the currency in the US, also received a letter this week.

All of the coordinated communications appear to be the latest Republican attempt to ramp up pressure against US crypto oversees to get legislation done on industry oversight this year.  

“Today, we are seeing the resurgence of coordinated action by the federal prudential regulators to suppress innovation in the United States,” the joint statement said. “There is no clearer example than in the digital asset ecosystem.”

Even Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has entered the political and regulatory fray this year. Armstrong at one point in 2023 said he’d consider moving the domicile of his US-based and publicly traded exchange outside of the country. 

The industry consensus has been mixed on whether Armstrong would seriously consider doing so. Some have referred to the move as a political gambit. Efforts driven at the state level in the US, including legislation drafted in Montana, have been largely met with greater progress so far this year. 

Europe crypto industry moves in the cards?

Amid all of the US federal turmoil and congressional infighting, industry participants based in the US say they’re paying close attention to ongoing crypto regulatory developments in Europe and other regions this quarter. 

It’s unclear whether Republican efforts to advance stablecoin legislation have a chance of succeeding, for example, this year.

During an interview with Blockworks on Thursday, Ilya Volkov, CEO and co-founder of YouHodler, noted a growing trend of influential figures in the industry looking to set up shop in his home base of Switzerland. 

Volkov has been involved in efforts to shore up the presence of crypto firms in the EU via MiCA, the region’s ongoing effort to establish its own regulation and jurisdiction over digital asset operators. 

Though Volkov’s firm has no presence in the US and no customers based in the region, he said, they’re still “monitoring the developments in the US, just because they’re much connected to everything happening on the global level, and it [has always been] like that.”

He said that crypto companies, such as stablecoin issuer Circle, have been recently exploring opportunities to expand their presence in Europe.

He also mentioned Circle’s plans to open a new office in Paris, which started circulating about a month ago. The firm’s representatives, Volkov said, started to consider paying a visit Zurich, Switzerland, a couple of weeks ago in an effort to keep “continuing some presence here” on the continent.

Update: May 1 at 12:13pm. Clarifies the timing of Circle’s plans to open an office in Paris, as well as the intention of the firm’s executives to visit Zurich, Switzerland.


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