drawer logo

European Blockchain Lawyer: US Will Catch Up To Europe Once America's Crypto Laws Take Shape

In this podcast, Blockchain Journal editor-in-chief David Berlind interviews Tanya-Elisa (Vasilyeva) Baseley, a regulatory attorney based in Europe. Baseley discusses her work in navigating the complex regulatory landscape of blockchain and cryptocurrency, particularly focusing on compliance with the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) established by the European Union. She explains the challenges faced by blockchain companies operating across multiple European legal jurisdictions. She highlights how MiCA helps to establish a common crypto and blockchain regulatory footing across those jurisdictions in a way that provides some legal clarity for businesses operating across most of Europe.

The conversation also explores the relationship between MiCA and national regulations within each of those jurisdictions (e.g., Germany, UK, Switzerland, etc.), with Baseley emphasizing MiCA's broader scope and potential to supersede country-specific regulations (of which there are many). Additionally, the discussion touches on the implications of regulatory developments in Europe for the global blockchain industry, particularly regarding competition with the United States. Whereas MiCA and certain country-specific regulations are in place in Europe, many organizations in the US are still in a holding pattern when it comes to their blockchain projects because the sort of legal clarity that exists in Europe has yet to take shape in the US.

However, Baseley doesn't necessarily agree that America's trailing regulatory developments will undermine its international competitiveness in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. She points out how, even though US lawmakers are well behind their European counterparts when it comes to ratifying blockchain-related regulations, everyone still wants and needs access to the highly lucrative US market (perhaps more so than other international markets). In other words, she thinks it's likely that the US will catch up to other crypto-friendly international jurisdictions once its laws and regulations are in place, no matter how long it takes.




By David Berlind

Published:March 1, 2024

clock icon

7 min read

In this Story



Audio-Only Podcast

Full-text transcript of David Berlind's Interview with European Blockchain Lawyer Tanya-Elisa (Vasilyeva) Baseley

David Berlind: Today is February 16th, 2024. I'm David Berlind. This is the Blockchain Journal podcast coming to you from a Boston Blockchain Association event being held at Suffolk University in Boston. And standing with me is Tanya Vasilyeva (Elisa-Tatyana Baseley), who is with Baseley & Partners [Tax Sketches Ltd.] I'm looking at her badge here, but it's a lot to say because I had a hard time pronouncing your name, but Tanya, thanks very much for joining us here on the Blockchain Journal podcast.

Elisa-Tatyana Baseley: Thank you so much, David.

Baseley: All right. So... That's all right. Don't worry; we're just going to have a conversation. You know, what I want to do is... I'm literally going around and talking to the different attendees to the event to find out what it is they're doing in the Blockchain industry [and] what their interest was in coming to this event. And I happened to eavesdrop on one of your conversations, and I heard you saying that you are a regulatory attorney in Europe. So, tell us a little bit more about that.

Baseley: I'm dealing with regulatory issues in Europe with [the] classification of different financial promises which blockchain companies issue towards their audience. And we've obtained licenses in different countries to comply with MiCA (Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation).

Berlind: Okay, so, "Mi-ka" or "Mi-cah" (MiCA), and I think I hear [it] pronounced in multiple different ways. That is the overarching regulation that, so far, has been established in the European Union. And so, you are now... Are you... When you do this work that you're doing it on behalf of other companies that have to comply with those regulations.

Baseley: Right. I'm doing it on the behalf of blockchain companies which promise something outside of [the] technology – which promise some financial things to [their] audience. Like for example, some earnings on investments to decentralized autonomous organizations or different things like this.

Berlind: So, you have to stay very on top of what's happening, particularly given the changing landscape of all the regulation[s]. Are these companies only operating in one country? Are they operating across all of Europe?

Baseley: It's very difficult to operate in one country in Europe. So, normally, they operate in several countries. And they establish one headquarter[s] in one of the countries, you know, but their target audience [is] in different European countries.

Berlind: Okay, I'm not a lawyer like you are. But, my understanding of the regulations in Europe, when it comes to blockchain and crypto, is that you've got MiCA, the overarching regulations, to be set up by the European Union. But then, if you go to each of the different companies... each of the different countries, they themselves have their own regulations, some more than others. An example of that might be you have different laws in the UK regarding crypto than you have in Germany or [in] Luxembourg, Switzerland. Some countries are a little more pro-crypto than others. Meanwhile, you still have this MiCA thing in the background. So how does that work?

Baseley: You're absolutely right. And, I think MiCA will simplify this, because before MiCA we had the situation when in one country it was [a] completely gray area. For example, in [the] Czech Republic, In [the] Czech Republic, you can do...

Berlind: That's where you're based?

Baseley: Yes.

Berlind: Okay.

Baseley: You can do most of the things with crypto without licensing. And only [for] things which are classified as investment things, you shall obtain [a] license. But there are countries, like for example, Germany which allowed particular things but regulated by buffing the regulatory body different separate things, like for example, custodian things. And you had to... navigate all these difficult landscape, and MiCA [will] just simplify this, and MiCA would allow you to get [a] license in one country and to operate based on this license in several countries. So, you don't need just to create some different regulatory approaches in different countries. You need to create one strategy.

Berlind: Oh. So I was under the impression that if a country had its own laws around crypto or blockchain, that those laws would take precedence over the MiCA laws. Are you saying it's the other way around? MICA takes precedence over the national jurisdictions?

Baseley: Not really like this. MiCA will cover all these questions which were governed by national law. So, MiCA will be much wider than national law [was] before. So, MiCA will be bad for companies which operated within [the] grey area and hoped just to stay there. But it will be good for companies which wanted to comply and wanted to unify everything.

Berlind: All right. So that's interesting. That's new to me, and that's very interesting.

How do you view... You're in Europe working on crypto and blockchain. I can speak for a lot of people here in the US, and one of the major concerns is that the blockchain train is leaving the station, and you've got a lot of very pro-crypto countries or pro-blockchain countries in the European Union and elsewhere in the world. For example, India, Singapore, and they're moving forward. And so, when somebody in the US sees that, one of the concerns is that the US is going to get left behind while all these other countries move forward. You know, They're getting all their, you know, they're just getting everything in place that needs to be in place from a regulatory point of view so that there's some regulatory certainty for all the different companies that want to set up business. So that's the view we take. Some of us take here in the US We look at Europe and say, "Oh boy, they're just going to keep going, and we're just going to be stuck in molasses as long as the conversation keeps going the way it's going in Washington, DC." What's your view of the US?

Are you guys like, looking and say, "Oh, well, okay, we've got an advantage here. we're going to put our foot on the gas pedal and floor it," [and] try to kind of create a more of a competitive advantage. Or are you also waiting for the US to kind of get going?

Baseley: I think there is some point, which is... some incorrect view. So some companies, they think of that, or some even countries may think that they can get [an] advantage out of this, but the situation is, that blockchain regulation, like any financial regulation, has two layers. The layer where companies are incorporated and the layer where [the] target audience is situated. So even if, let's say Switzerland or Liechtenstein will get more companies to incorporate their headquarters there they will not be able to get all the profits into their country because to enter [the] US market, companies anyway will need to comply with US regulation and so on, because of this second layer. And [the] US market is, I think, too delicious for companies just to leave [it] like this, without many, many numerous attempts to get into this.

Berlind: Sure. Just about any company wants to tap into the US market...

Baseley: Yes.

Berlind: because it's a big market...

Baseley: Yes.

Berlind: With a lot of people. And particularly when it comes to blockchain, there's a ton of people in the US that are interested in blockchain and cryptocurrency. So yeah, it's, as you say, "A delicious market." I totally agree with that.

Well, Tanya, thank you very much for joining us on the Blockchain Journal podcast. I wish you the best of luck while you're here in Boston, and hopefully, those companies that you're consulting with in Europe appreciate your understanding of the whole regulatory landscape.

Baseley: Thank you so much.

Berlind: Okay, that's it. If you want to get the full-transcript of this or you want to get in touch with Tanya We're going to throw some QR codes up on this video, and then you can click those and get in touch with her. Maybe get her advice on something.

If you want to get more of our video content, then just go to the Blockchain Journal channel on YouTube [it's] easy to find. Just search [for] Blockchain Journal on YouTube, or you can go to blockchainjournal.com, where all of our videos are posted as well as the full-transcript text of those interviews.

Thanks very much for joining us, and we'll see you at the next video.

footer logo

© 2024 Blockchain Journal