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RIYADH: Europe is preparing to lead the world in regulating the cryptocurrency industry at a time when prices have plunged, wiping out fortunes, fueling skepticism and prompting calls for greater scrutiny.

The EU took a first step on Wednesday evening by agreeing on new rules subjecting cryptocurrency transfers to the same money laundering rules as traditional bank transfers.

A much bigger move was expected as EU negotiators hammered out final details Thursday night on a separate deal for a broad set of crypto regulations for the bloc’s 27 countries, known as Markets in Crypto Assets. , or MiCA.

Like the EU’s pioneering data privacy policy, which has become the de facto global standard, crypto regulations are expected to have great influence around the world.

The EU rules are “really the first comprehensive piece of crypto regulation in the world,” said Patrick Hansen, venture capital adviser at venture capital firm Presight Capital.

Patrick Hansen, analyst

“I think there will be a lot of jurisdictions looking closely at how the EU has dealt with this since the EU was first here,” Hansen said.

He expected authorities in other places, especially smaller countries that don’t have the resources to craft their own rules from scratch, to adopt rules similar to those in the EU, even if “they could change some details”.

Companies issuing or trading crypto assets such as stablecoins face strict transparency requirements requiring them to provide detailed information about the risks, costs and fees consumers face.

Bitcoin-related service providers would fall foul of the regulations, but not bitcoin itself, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency which has lost more than 70% of its value since peaking in November.

Russia investigates 400 cases

The Federal Financial Supervision Service of the Russian Federation is trying to detect about 400 cases involving cryptocurrencies, agency director Yury Chikhanchin revealed during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Russian law enforcement authorities have already initiated 20 criminal cases related to digital assets, Bitcoin.com reported.

Chikhanchin acknowledged that Russians continue to actively use cryptocurrency platforms located outside the country.

“This phenomenon continues to exist. And only on two foreign sites, two exchanges, several hundred thousand Russian citizens participate in transactions worth tens of billions,” he said.

According to official data released earlier this year, the number of lawsuits related to cryptocurrency mining in Russia exceeded 1,500 in 2021.

$100 Million Crypto Hack

Digital investigative firms have concluded that North Korean hackers are most likely responsible for an attack last week that cost a US company up to $100 million in cryptocurrency, according to Reuters.

Cryptocurrency assets were stolen on June 23 from Horizon Bridge, a service provided by Harmony blockchain that transfers assets between blockchains. Hacker activity since then suggests they may be affiliated with North Korea, which experts say is among the most prolific cyberattackers.

UN sanctions monitors say Pyongyang is using the stolen funds to fund its nuclear and missile programs.