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Standard NFT and MiCAR

Do standard NFTs fall under the MiCAR crypto framework? Probably not. Neither the EU legislator nor local supervisory authorities, such as BaFin in Germany, want that.

The objective of MiCAR is to establish an EU regulatory framework for crypto assets in order to expand and promote the use of innovative technologies in the financial sector, particularly in relation to distributed ledger technology. This is also necessary and exciting from both a legal and business perspective.

If a game provider wants to store digital content/assets on a blockchain, this is generally not supposed to be a regulatory concern already according to the institution of the legislators. The gray area is thin in places, however, and details matter in many places. For example, if NFT is associated with “paying out” FIAT, or if the underlying smart contracts and especially the marketing are designed to make an NFT more about the investment purpose, this may be different.

“Cryptovalue” is, after all, a termincus technicus, albeit a term that is sometimes very poorly defined and has so far been clarified in only a few binding legal issues.

So if you feel that your own business is more in the realm of FinTech, an expert should examine the details and requirements more closely. However, if one’s business is more likely to go towards digital content or rights being stored on a blockchain, rather than a hard drive, to possibly simplify transfer or increase the “sense of ownership” of users, then there is a good chance that this business can operate without separate permissions. However, sub-areas of a company that affect FIAT must be distinguished from this, such as payment management, the re-exchange of digital assets, or services related to the transfer of content stored on a blockchain.

Unfortunately, one sees again and again that the extent of the examinations is underestimated, because it depends not only on details and the special characteristic of a business model, but also on the marketing, the concrete use and numerous other aspects, which affect many other areas of law, such as the competition law, the copyright, the trademark law or also the general civil law.

The potential of startups and business model related to distributed ledger is huge and will also rise sharply by 2030. However, the need for legal advice and thus the cost of legally compliant handling of blockchains is also enormous. This is also true because there are not yet too many tech-savvy lawyers who can advise on business models in the field.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053