Tether’s USDT Faces Potential Delisting From Kraken’s Platform Within 2 Months: Details

In a move that could have significant implications for the global cryptocurrency market, the US-based crypto exchange Kraken is “actively reviewing” plans, including removing support for Tether’s USDT stablecoin within the European Union (EU).

The potential delisting comes as the EU prepares to implement a new regulatory framework, Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA), set to take effect in July. According to a Bloomberg report, the upcoming EU rules are expected to impact USDT, the world’s most-traded cryptocurrency.

Kraken Considers Tether’s USDT Delisting In Europe

MiCA, which the European Banking Authority (EBA) is still finalizing, will restrict the sale of stablecoins to EU investors. 

Traders widely use stablecoins like USDT to move digital assets between exchanges or to store wealth away from token price volatility. Marcus Hughes, Kraken’s global head of regulatory strategy, stated:

We’re absolutely planning for all eventualities, including situations where it’s just not tenable to list specific tokens such as USDT. It’s something that we’re actively reviewing, and as the position becomes clearer, we can take firm decisions on that.

Tether, the issuer of USDT, acknowledged Kraken’s remarks, stating that the firm expects exchanges to “rightfully focus on EUR liquidity for European customers while maintaining USDT as an on-ramp off-ramp solution.” 

However, Tether’s CEO, Paolo Ardoino, has previously expressed concerns about certain aspects of MiCA’s requirements, and the company has no plans to be regulated under the new rules in the medium term. 

The potential delisting of USDT on Kraken’s European platform follows a similar move by another major crypto exchange, OKX, which removed EU users’ ability to buy or sell other cryptocurrencies using USDT earlier this year. Hughes further claimed:

It’s an evolving picture. What we’re clear on is that the scope of the type and number of stablecoins that are offered today in Europe are unlikely to be able to be offered going forward. At some point in the future, there’ll be a cut off at which that won’t be possible.

Kraken Evaluates European HQ Options

For further context, the upcoming MiCA regulations will require issuers of asset-referenced and e-money tokens, like USDT, to hold a license from a national financial authority in at least one EU member state by June 30. 

Issuers will also be mandated to meet “higher standards” on corporate governance, conflicts of interest, and reserve management, such as holding at least a third of all funds at an independent credit institution.

Per the report, as Kraken navigates the changing regulatory landscape, the exchange is also in the “advanced stages” of selecting its post-MiCA European headquarters, with France and Ireland emerging as popular destinations among its rivals, such as Coinbase, Binance, and Gemini.

However, if Kraken moves forward with delisting Tether’s USDT stablecoin from its European platform, it could have significant implications for the exchange’s users and customers in the EU. 

Kraken’s European customers would no longer be able to directly trade or transact using USDT, potentially leading to decreased liquidity, wider bid-ask spreads, increased price volatility, and lower trading volumes. 

This could create inconvenience and disruption for customers accustomed to using Tether’s stablecoin, as they may need to explore alternative stablecoins like Circle’s USDC or fiat on-ramps, adding complexity to their cryptocurrency transactions. 

Featured image from Shutterstock, chart from TradingView.com