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European Parliament Postpones Vote on Crypto Regulations Indefinitely

Thierry Monasse

The European parliament has postponed its vote on the proposed regulatory package for crypto assets after a leaked draft drew criticism for including a provision that sought to ban the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether in the European Union (EU) over energy concerns.

The parliament member in charge, who is known as the rapporteur, Stefan Berger, has asked for more time to clarify the provisions, according to a Twitter post he made on Friday. The parliament was supposed to vote on the draft for the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) framework on Feb. 28.

A draft of the framework, which included a provision that implied lawmakers were planning to restrict the use of cryptocurrencies that rely on an energy-intensive computing process called proof-of-work, began circulating earlier this week. According to the provisions, crypto firms will no longer be able to provide services that require the use of proof-of-work based cryptocurrencies starting in January 2025. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum currently rely on proof-of-work.

“The current discussion about MiCA indicates that individual passages of the draft report can be misinterpreted and seen as a ban on proof-of-work. It would be fatal if the European Parliament were to send the wrong signal by voting under these circumstances,” Berger wrote in an email to CoinDesk. The statement mirrored what he posted on Twitter.

Berger added that he sees an urgent need to resume talks with parliamentary groups on this topic and to present clear facts on proof-of-work.

"As rapporteur, it is crucial for me that the MiCA report is not interpreted as a de facto ban on bitcoin,” Berger said.

He did not specify when the vote will take place next.

European parliamentarians from the Green and Socialist parties, along with a number of regulators and lawmakers from various member states including Sweden, Germany and Spain have been pushing for a ban on proof-of-work mining over energy concerns since at least November 2021.