OKX to remove Tether trading pairs ahead of MiCA

OKX, the world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is discontinuing support for tether (USDT) trading pairs in the European Economic Area (EEA).

This decision precedes the European Union’s (EU) adoption of the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) regulation, set to fully come into effect on December 30, 2024. MiCA will introduce tighter controls on the usage of certain stablecoins within the region.

An OKX spokesperson explained that the delisting aims to facilitate the introduction of euro on-ramps for EEA-based customers. He added that this adjustment impacts only a minor portion of the exchange’s user base. In addition to phasing out USDT pairs, OKX is expanding its offerings in the EEA by introducing various euro fiat onramps and euro pairs to cater to the needs of its regional customers.

Although the exchange confirmed that tether became inaccessible to EEA traders starting March 14, OKX’s website still listed USDT pairs as available in the region as of March 15. Some EEA traders were informed about the delisting via email, which hinted at the impending regulatory changes without directly linking the decision to the MiCA regulation.

The email to traders stated, “Please note that not all tokens are available in all markets due to regulatory requirements,” indicating a shift in available services to comply with upcoming regulations.

These changes are part of the bloc’s wider efforts to transition smoothly to MICA-based regulations. Countries in the European Union are gearing up to implement the recently finalized rules, which will govern digital assets and firms operating within the single market.

MiCA is set to take effect over the next 12 months, and countries like France are already making preparations.

Under MiCA, stablecoins are categorized either as ‘e-money tokens’ (EMTs), if pegged to a fiat currency, or ‘asset-referenced tokens’ (ARTs) for other types of backing. The regulation introduces scaling constraints based on usage. Specifically, stablecoins not pegged to an EU currency face restrictions: they will be banned from exceeding 1 million transactions per day. Additionally, the rules cover Terra-style algorithmic stablecoins, which rely on automated coding to maintain value.