“Freedom in a wallet” is how Member of European Parliament Stefan Berger describes the non-fungible token (NFT) he is now selling on Opensea. The NFT represents a pair of ‘Bergoletten’ slides. Shoes symbolize the first step in every development, says Berger who invested efforts in making sure Europe’s upcoming crypto legislation gets the backing of his colleagues.
European Lawmaker Auctions NFT Slides on Opensea
Stefan Berger, the German member of the European Parliament (MEP) who was tasked to facilitate the progress of EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory package, has come up with a summer initiative to promote tokenization, something “as groundbreaking for the world as the introduction of the stock market was in the 17th century.”
In late July, the member of the group of the conservative European People’s Party urged his followers on Twitter to join an auction on the NFT marketplace Opensea. “My NFT is out now,” Berger announced in a post about the sale which ends on Monday, Aug. 15. “For me, this NFT is a piece of digital freedom in a wallet,” he wrote in the tweet.
The Bergoletten NFT, which he claims to have designed, represents a photo of a pair of men’s slides, one of which is branded “#bergo” and the other one – “ropa.” The Bergolettes are the optimal summer gadget and were chosen as NFT-motif because every great development begins with a first step, the seller explains on his website, vows to spend the proceeds on swimming promotion, and elaborates:
What was tradable yesterday is tokenized on the blockchain today. Yesterday, you wore bathing shoes on your feet, today you carry them in your wallet – in the form of this NFT.
EU Mulls Treatment of NFTs Under MiCA Regulations
Stefan Berger’s NFT stunt came after a significant advance towards the adoption of the pan-European crypto regulations. In early July, the key participants in the Union’s complex legislative process – the Parliament, Council, and Commission – made a deal to implement MiCA across the 27-strong bloc.
Berger played a role for a decision to drop a controversial proposal to prohibit the provision of services for coins relying on the power-hungry proof-of-work (PoW) mining algorithm from the draft. The texts, which would have amounted to an effective ban on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the minting of which requires a lot of electrical energy, sparked negative reactions from the continent’s crypto space.
The agreement did not cover NFTs, “except if they fall under existing crypto-asset categories,” officials in Brussels stated at the time. European institutions now have to decide if separate regulations are needed for the tokens. This type of crypto assets, also referred to as ‘digital collectibles,’ have various applications, including to store digital records on a blockchain and prove authenticity and ownership of artwork, for example.
According to a recent statement by Peter Kerstens, adviser to the European Commission on technological innovation and cybersecurity policy, EU legislators “take a very narrow view of what is an NFT.” Quoted by Coindesk a few days ago, he suggested that many NFTs will be treated just like other digital currencies.
Speaking during the Korea Blockchain Week, Kerstens elaborated that if a token is issued as a collection or as a series, even though the issuer may call it an NFT and each individual token in that series may be unique, European regulators will not consider it to be a non-fungible token. This means that the requirements for cryptocurrencies will apply for NFTs as well.