Global Fintech Update
22 March 2023
Fintech Crypto Banking & Finance 22 March 2023
Welcome to this week's global fintech round-up, summarising fintech regulatory developments that have happened around the world along with our Clifford Chance fintech publications and upcoming events.
Details of these and previous developments can also be found on our Fintech Topic Guide on the Clifford Chance Financial Markets Toolkit.
GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES, INDUSTRY GUIDANCE AND PUBLICATIONS
- (17 Mar 2023) International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper on the monetary policy implications of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and perspectives on jurisdictions with conventional and Islamic banking systems. | Webpage
- (14 Mar 2023) Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report on ransomware financing, which analyses the methods that criminals use to carry out their ransomware attacks and how payments are made and laundered. The report notes that criminals are almost exclusively using crypto, or virtual assets and have easy access to virtual asset service providers around the world. The report also identifies challenges and good practices in identifying, investigating, and disrupting ransomware-related financial flows, and proposes a number of actions that countries can take to more effectively disrupt ransomware-related money laundering. | Webpage
- (21 Mar 2023) US Senator Ted Cruz has again introduced legislation intended to prohibit the Federal Reserve from developing a direct-to-consumer CBDC. Senator Cruz previously introduced this bill in 2022. | Press release
- (20 Mar 2023) Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a legislative proposal expressly prohibiting the use of a federally adopted CBDC as money within Florida's Uniform Commercial Code and prohibiting any CBDC issued by a foreign reserve or foreign sanctioned central bank. DeSantis has also called on likeminded US states to join Florida in adopting similar prohibitions within their respective Commercial Codes. | Press release
- (20 Mar 2023) The Council of Economic Advisers, which is charged with advising the US President on economic policy, has published its annual Economic Report of the President. The 2023 report contains a chapter on digital assets, which states that, to date, cryptoassets do not appear to offer investments with any fundamental value, nor act as an effective alternative to fiat money, improve financial inclusion, or make payments more efficient; instead, the report argues, their innovation has been mostly about creating artificial scarcity in order to support cryptoassets' prices, and many of them have no fundamental value. | Webpage
- (15 Mar 2023) The Federal Reserve has announced that the FedNow Service, which is intended to facilitate nationwide reach of instant payment services by financial institutions, will start operating in July 2023. | Press release
- (14 Mar 2023) Speech by Michelle W Bowman, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, on the imperative of fostering innovation in the banking system.
- (16 Mar 2023) Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, together with Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), have announced the launch of the Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) Network, aimed at supporting Australian firms in using and creating AI ethically and safely. | Press release
- (15 Mar 2023) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation and jointly enable innovation in financial products and services. Under the MoU, the two central banks will collaborate on various emerging areas of fintech, especially CBDCs, and explore interoperability between the CBDCs of CBUAE and RBI.| Press release
- (16 Mar 2023) European Stability Mechanism discussion paper analysing the usefulness of digital currencies for wholesale financial transactions in Europe. The paper concludes that a wholesale central bank digital currency on a private permissioned blockchain could overcome existing risks and impediments and lead to significant efficiency gains in the financial system across debt capital markets. | Webpage
- (15 Mar 2023) EU Commission answer to a written EU Parliament question on the Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA) Regulation and how the Commission intends to ensure consumer protection and financial stability, whether the Commission will put forward a proposal to regulate non-fungible tokens, and the Commission’s future actions concerning environmental sustainability of cryptoassets.
- (17 Mar 2023) The new Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) regulation governing advertisements for virtual currencies has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette (Moniteur belge/Belgisch Staatsblad) and will enter into force on 17 May 2023. The Regulation sets out conditions that all advertisements must meet and stipulates that advertisements must contain the following warning: "Virtual currencies, real risks. The only guarantee in crypto is risk." | Press release
- (16 Mar 2023) The Italian Government has passed the DLT Decree (Decree-Law no. 25/2023), a new law setting out the framework for the issuance of securities in digital form by means of distributed ledger technology (DLT). With the DLT Decree, Italy is seeking to close the gap with other EU jurisdictions where similar laws have been passed in recent years. As noted in the recitals, a key purpose of the DLT Decree is to ensure that Italian market participants do not find themselves at a competitive disadvantage relative to participants in other EU Member States. The DLT Decree was enacted in the form of a decree-law issued by the Government and will need to be converted into ordinary law by the Parliament within 60 days of its publication in the Official Gazette.
- (17 Mar 2023) Law of 15 March 2023 (in French), implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/858 on a pilot scheme for market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), which has been published in the Luxembourg Official Journal (Mémorial A). The purpose of the Law is to expressly recognise DLT technology in the financial sector and to enable financial market participants to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by this new technology, with full legal certainty.
- (16 Mar 2023) Ministry of Finance policy agenda for the financial sector (in Dutch), which includes ambitions of being innovative and future-oriented and indicates that the Ministry is currently conducting a further study of the fintech sector, and further research into the digital euro and the risks and opportunities of decentralised finance.
- (18 Mar 2023) Spanish Securities Markets and Investment Services Act (in Spanish), which has been published in the Official State Gazette and will enter into force on 7 April 2023. Amongst other things, the Act introduces a new legal regime for the representation or registration of negotiable securities by means of DLT systems. | Clifford Chance briefing
- (14 Mar 2023) Swiss Bankers Association white paper on a digital Swiss franc, which outlines various designs of "tokenised" deposits on the blockchain. | Press release
- (21 Mar 2023) CryptoUK has written to HM Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) highlighting "deep concerns" about the introduction of blanket bans and restrictions of transfers from UK banks to cryptoasset platforms. | Letter to HM Treasury | Letter to FCA and PSR
- (15 Mar 2023) Report on digital technologies presented by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as part of the Pro-innovation Regulation of Technologies Review and HM Government response. The report considers how pro-innovation regulation can support emerging digital technologies and sets out recommendations on, amongst other things, sandboxing, generative AI, data, and cyber security. The Government’s response accepts Sir Patrick Vallance's recommendations and sets out how these will be implemented. | Webpage
- (15 Mar 2023) Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) Guidance on AI and Data Protection, which has been updated and restructured in response to industry feedback and to keep pace with new challenges and opportunities presented by AI. The updated guidance underpins the ICO's commitment as part of its ICO25 strategic plan to support technological innovation while continuing its duty to safeguard the data privacy of individuals and the vulnerable.
- (15 Mar 2023) The CBUAE and the RBI have signed a MoU to enhance cooperation and jointly enable innovation in financial products and services. Under the MoU, the two central banks will collaborate on various emerging areas of fintech, especially CBDCs, and explore interoperability between the CBDCs of CBUAE and RBI. | Press release
- Global Financial Markets Perspectives Series: Distributed Ledger Technology and European financial services – the impact of the new EU Pilot Regime (online, 30 March 2023): Our panellists will discuss the new EU Pilot Regime (which takes effect from 23 March 2023) for distributed ledger technology (DLT), and the extent to which its success or failure will impact the adoption of DLT in financial services in Europe. We will compare it with the UK’s financial market infrastructure sandbox proposal, as well as consider digital bond issuances and the link between the development of DLT market infrastructures and the tokenisation of financial products both in the EU and UK. | To register, please see the event series registration form.
- Global Financial Markets Perspectives Series: How to navigate crypto distress (online, 18 April 2023): The cryptoasset markets are facing an extended period of volatility and uncertainty following the bankruptcy filings of significant market participants. Our international panel will discuss the key issues for crypto market participants right now, including the lessons learned from the recent market challenges and what steps businesses, regulators and other market participants should be taking to protect themselves against future liquidity and solvency concerns. | To register, please see the event series registration form.
- Global Financial Markets Perspectives Series: Digital assets and private law (hybrid, 23 May 2023): Louise Gullifer, who is the first woman to be appointed to the prestigious role of Rouse Ball Professor of English law at Cambridge University, will talk to us in her capacity as a member of the UNIDROIT working group on Principles on digital assets and private law, and the implications for English law. | To register, please see the event series registration form.