OKX removes USDT pairs in Europe as new stablecoin regulations loom OKX removes USDT pairs in Europe as new stablecoin regulations loom

OKX removes USDT pairs in Europe as new stablecoin regulations loom

Rumors suggest the exchange is delisting the pairs because Tether is not allowed to issue a stablecoin under EU's upcoming MiCA rules.

OKX removes USDT pairs in Europe as new stablecoin regulations loom

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

Crypto exchange OKX is reportedly delisting Tether (USDT) pairs in the EU and will only support USDC and euro-based pairs, according to a message sent to a customer on March 18.

The move comes days after the EU released draft technical standards related to stablecoins, which are set to come into effect from June.

USDT no longer supported

The crypto exchange turned off USDT trading pairs in the user’s region and said, “only EUR and USDC trading pairs will be available for spot trading” in the future.

According to the alleged OKX message, the exchange plans to add 30 new trading pairs to counteract the delistings. It added that “regulatory requirements” were the cause for variations in token listings across different regions.

OKX has yet to issue a public statement about the delisting but CryptoSlate has confirmed that the exchange no longer offers USDT-crypto pairs in Germany, as of press time. The only USDT pairs available on the spot market are USDT/EUR and USDT/USDC.

The exchange’s support page โ€” last updated on March 15 โ€” indicates that USDT trading pairs are still available in the European Economic Area (EEA).

MiCA rules are looming

There’s growing chatter on social media suggesting that the recent removal of certain listings is tied to stablecoin regulations outlined in the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulatory scheme.

EU authorities introduced proposed guidelines for stablecoin issuer grievance procedures on March 14. While revising how complaints are reported may seem minor, the drive for additional regulations in the early months of 2024 could pose challenges for exchanges trying to comply with the new standards.

The MiCA legislation in the EU is anticipated to be fully operational by the end of 2024. However, the stablecoin regulations will be implemented starting June 2024 โ€” ahead of the complete legislative package.

Under the new rules, only Electronic Money Institutions (EMI) and credit institutions are allowed to issue stablecoins โ€” a rule that also involves the existing EU Electronic Money Directive (EMD).

Circle and USDC are in a strong position to meet those requirements as the company applied for an EMI license in December 2023 after announcing its conditional registration in France. It explicitly stated that those efforts would help it comply with the EU’s Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regime.

MiCA rules also include a seven-point adoption threshold and additional regulatory requirements, according to a recent blog post from Circle.

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