Global Fintech Update
10 May 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.
CLIFFORD CHANCE PUBLICATIONS AND MATERIALS
Clifford Chance webinar recording – Back to basics: How organisations can better leverage the value in their data
A green future: how the cryptoasset sector can embrace ESG
We are delighted to have worked with leading payments platform Paysafe on an important new report: A green future: How the crypto asset sector can embrace ESG on the key environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations for the cryptoasset industry, including recommendations for UK policymakers to drive change. In the report we also analyse consumer attitudes towards ESG issues, look at current legal and regulatory ESG requirements and provide an overview of upcoming changes.
Partner Diego Ballon Ossio comments: "Much has been written about the environmental impact of crypto mining. However, this report also focuses on the social implications of new financial technologies, the governance of decentralised systems and other less scrutinised aspects of the crypto markets. Investors must consider all of these areas to make informed and responsible investment decisions."
GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES, INDUSTRY GUIDANCE AND PUBLICATIONS
- (4 May 2023) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have launched the fourth edition of the G20 TechSprint Initiative, a global technology competition to promote innovative solutions aimed at improving cross-border payments, under India's G20 presidency. The 2023 TechSprint will focus on three problem statements on cross-border payments: (i) technology solutions to reduce illicit finance risk around anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and sanctions, (ii) foreign exchange and liquidity technology solutions to enable settlement in emerging market and developing economy currencies, and (iii) technology solutions for multilateral cross-border central bank digital currency platforms.| Press release
- (3 May 2023) International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) whitepaper, ‘Navigating Bankruptcy in Digital Asset Markets: Digital Asset Intermediaries and Customer Asset Protection’, which examines how digital assets may be held by customers through intermediaries and considers how those assets can be protected following an insolvency of the intermediary, with a specific focus on English and US law. While digital assets raise some novel questions, the key finding is that traditional and fundamental protections of clear legal terms and segregation of assets can be adapted to the world of digital assets. | Press release
Central African Republic:
- (2 May 2023) International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Report No. 23/155 on the Central African Republic, comprising a press release, staff report, and statement by the Executive Director for the Central African Republic on the 2023 Article IV Consultation and request for a 38-month arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility. The IMF has approved an arrangement of about USD 191.4 million, subject to a number of policy commitments including de-risking crypto-related projects – specifically removing legal tender and guaranteed convertibility for cryptoassets. An accompanying report notes that the legal and regulatory framework for cryptoassets in the Central African Republic remains incomplete and uncertain, and that coordination with the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) in strengthening and clarifying the framework is of paramount importance going forward. The report also concludes that the country’s digital coin (‘Sango’) project appears too complex, creating interconnectedness between multiple sectors and private and public balance sheets in a manner which could raise systemic risks, pointing to the importance of reconsidering the existing blueprint.
- (3 May 2023) National Blockchain Adoption Strategy, which has been approved by the Federal Government and outlines a roadmap and strategies for the adoption of blockchain technology and the creation of a blockchain-powered economy that supports secure transactions, data sharing, and value exchange between people, businesses, and the Government.
- (4 May 2023) Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) issuance note inviting applications from individuals, financial institutions, corporates and other entities to subscribe for the issuance of RBZ Gold-Backed Digital Tokens No.1/2023.
- (8 May 2023) The Bank of Canada has launched an online public consultation on the features that could be included in a digital Canadian dollar. Deadline for comments: 19 June 2023. | Press release
- (5 May 2023) New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced the Crypto Regulation, Protection, Transparency, and Oversight (CRPTO) bill, which would introduce independent public audits of cryptocurrency exchanges, mandatory disclosure and prudential requirements and prevent individuals from owning the same companies, such as brokerages and token issuers, to stop conflicts of interest. Crypto platforms would also have responsibilities to customers similar to banks under the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act by requiring platforms to reimburse customers who are the victims of fraud. The bill would also strengthen the New York State Department of Financial Services’ regulatory authority over digital assets. This program bill will be submitted to the State Senate and Assembly for their consideration during the 2023 legislative session. | Press release
- (3 May 2023) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) final rule on amendments to Form PF, the confidential reporting form for certain SEC-registered investment advisers to private funds, to require new reporting related to certain key hedge fund and private equity fund events, as well as to require reporting of additional information regarding certain advised private equity funds. The SEC had originally proposed adding ‘digital assets’ as a new term to the Form PF Glossary of Terms, but has now indicated that, while it is continuing to consider this term, it is not adopting ‘digital assets’ as part of the final rule at this time.
- (2 May 2023) Florida’s State legislature has approved a Bill prohibiting the use of a federally adopted central bank digital currency (CBDC) as money within Florida's Uniform Commercial Code and prohibiting any CBDC issued by a foreign reserve or foreign sanctioned central bank. The Bill still needs to be approved by Governor Ron DeSantis and is expected to take effect on 1 July 2023.
- (8 May 2023) European Central Bank (ECB) working paper (No. 2811) on CBDC and business cycle dynamics in a New Monetarist New Keynesian model
- (3 May 2023) The EU Council has published the texts of the Markets in Cryptoassets Regulation (MiCA) and the recast Regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds and certain cryptoassets and is expected formally to approve both pieces of legislation on 16 May 2023.
- (3 May 2023) The EU Commission’s call for evidence on virtual worlds (metaverses) has closed and the responses have been published.
- (28 April 2023) The Eurosystem has announced that it will look into how wholesale financial transactions recorded on distributed ledger technology (DLT) platforms could be settled in central bank money. The purpose of this initiative is to (i) consolidate and further develop the ongoing work of Eurosystem central banks in this area, and (ii) gain insight into how different solutions could facilitate interaction between TARGET services and DLT platforms. | Press release
- (9 May 2023) The French Senate has approved an amendment (in French) to the Bill on social media influencers, which would allow influencers to promote the products of registered crypto companies. The National Assembly had proposed to prohibit online influencers from directly or indirectly promoting cryptoasset services from unlicensed providers, but the Senate favoured a less restrictive approach as long as the company being promoted is registered with the Financial Markets Authority. | Legislative file | Adopted text of the Bill (provisional version, in French)| Further information on the Bill (in French)
- (3 May 2023) Speech by First Deputy Governor of the Banque de France, Denis Beau, on the perils and potential of digital currencies. Beau argued that confidence requires maintaining central bank money as the anchor of the financial system and that central banks need to revisit the central bank money services they provide in order to adapt them to the digital age. He emphasised that, in the wholesale space, central bank money is the dominant settlement asset because it is the safest and most liquid settlement asset, and that these attributes cannot be matched by stablecoins or commercial bank money. He added that adapting central bank money services might also be necessary in the retail space and that a digital euro would contribute to the anchoring role of central bank money.
- (5 May 2023) The Bank of Italy and the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (Consob) have, as competent authorities under Regulation (EU) 2022/858, confirmed their intention to comply with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) guidelines on standard forms, formats and templates to apply for permission to operate a DLT market infrastructure, incorporating them into their respective supervisory practices. | Press release (in Italian)
- (3 May 2023) Joint Luxembourg Central Bank/Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) thematic report on artificial intelligence (AI) in the Luxembourg financial sector. The report summarises the findings from a survey launched by the CSSF and Central Bank in October 2021, which sought to assess the level of adoption of AI by supervised institutions and to analyse the implementation of AI ('use cases') with their related challenges, including AI trustworthiness aspects (e.g., explainability, ethics, bias and fairness, auditability).| Press release
- (5 May 2023) Minutes from the BoE's CBDC Technology Forum, held on 14 March 2023. Members discussed the digital pound consultation paper and technology working paper and engagement in the next phase of work on the digital pound.
- (4 May 2023) The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an initial review of competition and consumer protection considerations in the development and use of AI foundation models. The CMA has invited submissions by 2 June 2023 and intends to publish a report setting out its findings in September 2023. | Press release
- (3 May 2023) The draft Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) (Amendment) Order 2023 has been debated in the House of Lords Grand Committee and subsequently approved in the House of Commons. The draft Order proposes to expand the scope of the financial promotion restriction in section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), by amending the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (2005/1529) (the FPO), to include financial promotions in respect of certain cryptoassets. It will amend the FPO by creating a new controlled investment (defined as a 'qualifying cryptoasset'), as well as amending relevant controlled activities to incorporate reference to qualifying cryptoassets. The draft Order will also apply and modify certain existing exemptions in the FPO to qualifying cryptoassets and create a temporary, limited exemption to the financial promotion restriction (imposed by section 21(1) of FSMA), for cryptoasset businesses (which are not authorised persons) on the FCA's anti-money laundering register.