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Poland’s Regulator Gets Authority to Block Crypto Access Ahead of MiCA Bill

The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has been granted enhanced powers to regulate the cryptocurrency market, in anticipation of the implementation of the EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA). MiCA, which is the EU’s comprehensive legislation governing cryptocurrencies, is scheduled to come into force later this year.

Under the new authority, the KNF can independently freeze cryptocurrency accounts for up to 96 hours in the event of any suspected irregularities. However, if criminal activity related to the funds in the account is suspected, the blocking period can be extended to 6 months with the approval of the prosecutor’s office.

This increased regulatory oversight coincides with Poland’s efforts to establish clear guidelines for cryptocurrencies in alignment with MiCA. The aim of MiCA is to regulate the issuance and trading of digital assets while providing legal certainty for businesses operating in this sector.

The recent announcement regarding the Polish regulator’s control over crypto asset accounts has sparked opposition from local crypto businesses and investors.

According to Finance Magnates, crypto experts are expressing concerns about the lack of clarity surrounding the account blockades, fearing that this ambiguity could result in uncertainty and potential misuse of regulatory power.

Arkadiusz Jóźwiak, a crypto trader and analyst, commented on the situation, stating, “This is yet another regulation that is stirring significant controversy, reminiscent of past attempts to introduce highly unfavorable taxation rules for cryptocurrencies.” He further added, “Given the KNF’s historical stance on cryptocurrencies, the authority’s newfound ability to block accounts based solely on suspicion may unfortunately lead to excessive use and potential abuse.”

Poland’s Crypto Scope

Polish authorities assert that the newly implemented regulatory measures align with the requirements set forth by MiCA. However, it’s worth noting that the MiCA framework does not explicitly include provisions for the ‘blocking’ of cryptocurrencies in consumer accounts.

Despite this, Poland has seen a significant involvement in crypto transactions, with approximately 6 million citizens, constituting around 15% of the country’s population, engaging in such activities last year. According to Statista projections, this number is expected to increase by another million within the current year.

Furthermore, Statista predicts that Poland’s revenue from the crypto market is set to rise to $456.9 million by the year 2024.

Earlier this year, the Polish regulator announced intentions to commence supervision of digital assets by the year’s end. This initiative aimed to enhance the regulatory capabilities of the KNF and empower the authority to levy financial penalties on cryptocurrency firms found to be non-compliant with regulations.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

Every cryptocurrency has two main components: the units of digital exchange called “coins” and the network within which the exchange takes place. These units can be transferred between wallets and exchanged on exchanges. The networks in which these coins exist are called blockchains, which translates to “chains of blocks.”

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