New EU rules: A disaster for bitcoin? - with Oliver Völkel

In 2024, a new, comprehensive EU regulation regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will come into force. Lawyer and crypto lawyer Oliver Völkel takes a critical view of the new MiCA regulation.

This weekly podcast about Bitcoin is the initiative of the Viennese financial journalist Niko Jilch. The goal: to strengthen and network the German-speaking Bitcoin community - and to bring the Bitcoin phenomenon closer to as broad a mass as possible.

We accompany this project as one of the main sponsors in this blog and also make all podcast episodes available here as a video.

What Bitcoin brings. Episode from 10.01.2023

Bitcoin is also affected by the new EU regulation, which is due to come into full force in 2024. Yet Bitcoin is not even mentioned by name in the more than 200 pages of Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCa) rules. It is simply dismissed as a crypto asset and put on par with "digital securities" such as Ethereum. Last but not least, Bitcoin was also targeted by a proof-of-work ban that some MPs wanted to sneak into the MiCa draft. This was prevented, but it was certainly not the last attempt. Oliver Völkel has studied the new rules intensively and takes a critical view of the regulations: "I have a very hard time finding positive aspects," he says. Together with his partner, Arthur Stadler, Oliver has been working in the Bitcoin and Blockchain area since 2016 and their law firm SVLaw has already been able to build up a lot of expertise since then.

Up to now, it has been like this in Europe: each country has sought its own approach to Bitcoin and crypto. As a result, Austria, for example, has been able to establish itself better as a location than Germany - where Bitcoin has been classified as a financial product from the very beginning.

But does Bitcoin really belong in this regulation? Is it a financial product?
Niko starts by asking an important question: why is Bitcoin not a financial instrument from a legal perspective? "Because a financial instrument is always based on a contract between two or more people. That's not the case with Bitcoin, just as it's not the case with gold," Oliver replies.

However, the EU MEPs have already decided. With MiCa, Oliver sees the danger that crypto and bitcoin companies will go to Cyprus or Malta in the future, where they hope to gain advantages over stricter locations like Germany or Austria. Or, even worse, that they avoid Europe altogether and simply offer their products from third countries - as has already happened so far in the case of many large platforms.

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