What Is the FSB Report on Crypto Regulations?
The Financial Stability Board (FSB), a global financial authority, proposed a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies to the nations with the 20 largest economies (known as the G-20 nations), outlining concerns about crypto markets and activities. The proposal calls for stricter regulation of crypto assets, namely stablecoins, and a clear framework outlining risks and compliance for crypto regulation.
The report was submitted in October 2022 by the chairman of the FSB ahead of meetings with key leaders in Washington, D.C., as well as the upcoming G20 worldwide summit for 2022. The report also includes a list of questions for public comment to help shape the proposed set of regulations.
- The FSB is focusing on cryptocurrency regulation, proposing tighter restrictions.
- Stablecoins—cryptocurrencies whose value is pegged, or tied, to that of another currency, commodity, or financial instrument—are seen in the report as the greatest risk to global financial stability among crypto assets.
- The FSB report proposes “same activity, same risk, same regulation” for crypto assets, which would mirror traditional finance asset oversight.
- The FSB cannot create policy, but it hopes to influence policymakers to adopt this crypto regulation framework.
Current Regulatory Issues for Crypto Assets
The “International Regulation of Crypto-asset Activities” report first outlines the current challenges and risks of regulations in the cryptocurrency space, saying that “many crypto-asset activities and markets are not compliant with applicable regulations or are unregulated.”
The report goes on to detail the reasons for a strong stance on crypto regulation. With the current “crypto winter” in full swing, investors have seen their holdings diminish, and, in some cases, disappear, due to the risks taken by some crypto companies. The FSB states, “These vulnerabilities were amplified by a lack of transparency and disclosures, flawed governance, inadequate consumer and investor protections, and weaknesses in risk management.”
Stablecoins are in the crosshairs of the FSB report, “as they could pose significant risks to financial stability.” The FSB’s harsh stance on stablecoins is congruent with its call for regulation on stablecoins in July 2022. As stablecoins attempt to mirror pricing of real-world assets (such as the U.S. dollar), this is seen as a threat to current central banks and national financial systems.
The report also attempts to parse some of the intricacies of the many functions of crypto assets, as some cryptocurrencies are compliant with current regulations, while others are not. Another challenge is the lack of classification for crypto assets, making regulation difficult.
One of the biggest challenges is that crypto companies may offer multiple use cases (such as trading, lending, custody, and brokerage services) that should be regulated individually. Traditional finance companies that offer these services are typically regulated as discrete providers of the services, instead of under a single company umbrella.
Finally, the report says “cross-border nature of crypto-assets raises regulatory, supervisory and enforcement challenges.”
The FSB is calling for international cooperation in creating a cohesive regulatory framework for crypto assets that can be used in multiple jurisdictions around the world.
Proposed Approach for a Regulatory Framework
The FSB proposes an approach to build a regulatory framework for crypto assets, starting with the principle of “same activity, same risk, same regulation.” This means applying existing regulations from the traditional finance world to crypto assets and crypto companies that offer financial services, such as lending, trading, and brokerage services.
There are two main proposals in the report:
Regulation and oversight: The FSB is building a comprehensive set of proposed recommendations for “the regulation, supervision, and oversight of crypto-asset activities and markets.” These recommendations will continue to evolve, but are designed to help G-20 countries create clear international regulations to govern all cryptocurrencies and intermediaries (such as crypto exchanges).
Additions to the “Stablecoin Arrangement”: The Stablecoin Arrangement is a document created by the FSB that includes numerous updates in the latest proposal, including “requiring these stablecoin issuers to provide robust legal claim, guarantee timely redemption at par into fiat, and maintain effective stabilisation mechanisms, among other revisions.” Effectively, the FSB is recommending the centralization of stablecoin governance, with accountable parties for regulation, as well as guaranteed timely redemption for users that want to exchange into fiat currency.
The FSB is calling for the G-20 nations to take crypto regulation seriously, and to act swiftly to impose the same regulations that traditional financial markets have on crypto assets. The board is also calling for regulation unique to cryptocurrencies, as some of their uses and functionality are much different than any traditional asset.
What is the Financial Stability Board (FSB)?
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is an agency that acts as a watchdog for the global financial system, offering regulatory guidance to central banks and policymakers around the world. The goal of the FSB is to create financial stability in international financial markets. While the FSB is designed to help all world economies, it regularly reports to the G-20, which comprises the 20 largest economies in the world.
Can the FSB Regulate Cryptocurrencies?
No. But the FSB is responsible for monitoring global financial markets and making official recommendations to the largest economies in the world about financial regulations. This includes recommendations regarding the regulation of cryptocurrencies and crypto-related companies.
The Bottom Line
The FSB report says that its regulation proposals will be finalized in mid-2023. These proposals will give a clear direction for regulators and policymakers on how to legally rein in cryptocurrencies and intermediaries that provide crypto-related services. While the FSB is focused on crypto market activities and stablecoins, it will continue to monitor the activities of decentralized finance (DeFi) markets and companies as well.
The FSB is taking a harsh stance on crypto, specifically stablecoins, due to the huge risks involved in such pegged assets. It calls out Terra (LUNA) in particular, as it is the most egregious example to date of a highly risky stablecoin collapsing and erasing billions in value seemingly overnight. The FSB will continue to offer guidance to global financial regulators ahead of finalizing these regulatory proposals in 2023.
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