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HomeDeFiEurope May Ban Non-Decentralized DeFi Protocols with New Rules

Europe May Ban Non-Decentralized DeFi Protocols with New Rules

Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols in Europe are on the brink of facing new regulatory measures as the European Commission sets its sights on the burgeoning sector. Under the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) framework, which oversees digital asset regulations within the European Union, the Commission is mandated to compile a report by December 30, 2024. This report will delve into the DeFi market, assessing the need and feasibility for sector-specific rules.

In anticipation of this comprehensive report, the European Commission has embarked on preliminary activities, including conducting a study on embedded supervision. However, it has emphasized that no policy decisions have been finalized as of yet, leaving the future regulatory landscape of DeFi somewhat uncertain.

The heart of the matter lies in determining how decentralized systems, particularly those lacking a distinct issuer or service provider, ought to be regulated. Maxim Galash, CEO of CoinChange Financials, highlighted the critical nature of this evaluation, especially concerning crypto-asset lending and borrowing – key components of the DeFi ecosystem. DeFi signifies a paradigm shift from traditional, centralized financial systems to a blockchain-based, peer-to-peer financial model devoid of traditional intermediaries.

The potential introduction of new regulations has sparked concerns within the crypto community. For instance, Rune Christensen, co-founder of MakerDAO, expressed apprehensions that upcoming rules might necessitate licensing for certain DeFi interfaces, such as decentralized exchanges, thus altering the current operational framework of DeFi frontends.

Nathan Catania, a partner at XReg Consulting, echoed these sentiments, suggesting that the MiCA regulation’s lack of a clear definition of decentralization could lead to a broad application of DeFi regulations. He posited that even protocols not deemed decentralized enough could be subject to regulatory scrutiny, particularly if they are perceived to be offering Crypto-Asset Service Provider (CASP) services.

The regulatory discourse also includes perspectives from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which posits that individuals or entities exerting control or significant influence over DeFi arrangements might be classified as Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). This stance underscores the regulatory challenges posed by the decentralized nature of DeFi activities.

The growth of the DeFi sector is undeniable, with the total value locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols surging from $570 million in April 2020 to $96.7 billion, marking a staggering 16,865% increase. As Europe moves towards possibly regulating this dynamic sector, the key question remains: Is a DeFi arrangement merely a technological platform, or does it involve a controlling entity influencing user value? This distinction will likely play a crucial role in shaping the future regulatory framework for DeFi in Europe.

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