Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

G7 to push for tighter cryptocurrency regulations

WASHINGTON: The Group of Seven major industrialised democracies will promote tougher regulations of the cryptocurrency sector, aiming to increase business transparency and consumer protections, reports Kyodo News.

The G7 will accelerate the pace of related discussions toward a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in mid-May, just days before Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosts this year's summit in Hiroshima, officials with knowledge of the plan said Sunday.

Amid lingering concern about potential risks to the global financial system posed by crypto assets, they said Japan and the other members -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the United States, as well as the European Union -- are seeking to state their collective efforts in a leaders' declaration.

The plan follows the collapse of the major cryptocurrency exchange FTX in November, which has laid bare the poor governance of the industry and sent shockwaves through financial markets.

It also comes as investors have been rattled by two sudden bank failures this month in the United States. The two were Silicon Valley Bank, which specialised in dealing with technology startups, and Signature Bank, which served crypto clients.

Of the G7 members, Japan already has cryptocurrency regulations. Canada and the United States currently apply existing financial regulations.

While the legal status of virtual assets and rules about them vary by country, the group is hoping to take the lead in formulating global standards.

Internationally, the Financial Stability Board, headquartered in Switzerland, released a set of recommendations in October last year toward creating a regulatory framework, in which it said crypto assets should also be subject to regulations for commercial bank activities.

While the FSB plans to announce its final version of the framework in July this year, the International Monetary Fund released a policy paper in February outlining key elements to be considered by each country in the development of comprehensive and coordinated rules following the spread of crypto.

Among other guidelines, IMF directors have generally agreed that crypto assets should not be granted official currency or legal tender status.

Issues associated with crypto assets are also likely to be on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 major economies in Washington in mid-April, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.