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Europe Crypto Tracker: Almost 1,000 new crypto entities registered in the EU in 2023

Europe Crypto Tracker: Almost 1,000 new crypto entities registered in the EU in 2023
Czechia still leads the race to have more registered crypto entities in the EU, but that may change. Credit: Andrés Núñez/DL News
  • Almost 1,000 new crypto entities were registered in the EU in 2023.
  • That is according to new data analysed by DL News’ Europe Crypto Tracker.
  • Member states are expected to compete to win over crypto entrepreneurs over the next year in anticipation of MiCA kicking in.
  • Still, the number of registered entities may drop when the law is enforced.

Crypto is expanding in the European Union, with almost 1,000 virtual asset services providers registering in 2023.

The addition sees 2023 end with at least 11,597 crypto entities registered across the 27-member bloc, according to new data analysed by DL News.

Findings are based on available information from official registers in member states.

The news comes one year away from some of the provisions of the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets law, or MiCA, going live in December 2024.

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Countries can choose whether to extend the transitional period up to mid-2026 at the latest.

In the intervening months, member states are expected to jockey for position to win over crypto entrepreneurs wanting to leverage the law’s passporting rules, which will enable firms to operate across the bloc if they comply with Brussels’ new regulations.

MiCA is considered the first comprehensive regulation for crypto assets. It is due to set new standards across the bloc for firms offering services to the EU’s population of 450 million.

Firms that want to access the EU market will need to choose one member state from which to passport their licence.

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Czechia is still leading

The overall figure of entities registered in the EU during 2023 does not include Czechia, which hasn’t updated the data provided to DL News since May 2022.

The Czech Ministry of Finance didn’t respond to requests to provide an updated number, which might be higher or lower.

With its 9,372 VASPs registered, the nation leads the crypto registration race.

Here’s the rub: About 83% of the entities registered in the Czechia are people, not companies, which may skew the results.

Runner-up Poland also allows people to register as VASPs. It has 1,067 crypto service providers in its crypto registry, according to publicly available data.

About a dozen new VASPs were registered per week in Poland in the last quarter of 2023, meaning it has probably added about 100 since we checked in October.

Even as Czechia and Poland’s current rules have seen their registered crypto entities balloon far beyond other member states, the situation may change when MiCA kicks in.

Individuals currently registered as VASPs will not be able to earn a MiCA licence, which sets standards on capital requirements, internal controls, and governance.

In countries like Poland, some firms use the easy registration as a European foothold. MiCA requires legal entities to have a registered office in a European country.

Regulators at the European Securities and Markets Authority have asked national authorities to stop what they call “letter-box entities.”

Some countries already have fewer crypto entities in their registries. For instance, Estonia has 22 fewer crypto companies registered than it had in October.

Belgium’s VASP register remains empty.

Slovakia and Romania don’t have established crypto registers, officials told DL News.

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