The European Union’s agreement of a new crypto law puts the bloc in the lead on Web3 technology, U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry (R–N.C.) told CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” Tuesday.
The European Parliament last week voted on the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), which is set to offer a licensing regime for wallet providers, exchanges and stablecoins as of 2024. Equivalent bills in the U.S. have failed to gain political traction.
Europe is “showing us with Web3 they’re ahead of the game of the United States,” despite the European Union’s stumbles on previous internet technology, McHenry said. “That should send chills up the spines of Americans, because economic growth comes out of that technology ingenuity.”
“That the Europeans have a technology-forward law line here shows how behind the United States is,” he added. “We should be the leader of the world when it comes to technology deployment, not running second to Europe.”
McHenry was optimistic about prospects for his bills on stablecoins and crypto market structure, despite criticism from Democrats. In the meantime, many crypto players have been left operating in a legal gray area.
During a hearing last week, McHenry urged Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler to take a clear position on whether individual crypto assets such as ether (ETH) constitute regulated securities or commodities.
EU officials have urged other leading jurisdictions to follow the lead taken by MiCA to ensure consistent global protection. During an April 19 debate, members of the European Parliament said the law would end the “Wild West” of unregulated crypto and restore confidence lost following the crash of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange.
On Tuesday, MiCA also won plaudits from the U.K., where lawmaker Lisa Cameron, who chairs a cross-party grouping on crypto issues, said MiCA was a “significant positive step” toward regulatory clarity, which can provide a “useful blueprint” for the U.K.’s own crypto law.