‘Blanket Ban on crypto costly’: IMF & FSB’s new paper on crypto regulation

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Key Takeaways

  • Blanket bans make all crypto-asset activities such as trading and mining illegal costly 
  • Paper proposes an “implementation roadmap” to guide the development of crypto-asset policy frameworks
  • The IMF-FSB synthesis paper will be submitted to G20 members ahead of upcoming summit

A groundbreaking global framework for cryptocurrency regulation is taking shape as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) release a joint synthesis paper. Prepared at the request of the Indian G20 Presidency, the paper aims to provide policy recommendations and standards for managing the macroeconomic and financial stability risks posed by crypto-asset activities and markets.

The paper acknowledges the potential risks associated with crypto-assets, including stablecoins and decentralized finance, and underscores their ability to undermine monetary policy effectiveness, bypass capital flow controls, escalate fiscal risks, divert resources from the real economy, and pose threats to global financial stability. It emphasizes that these risks can reinforce each other, leading to financial instability that complicates efforts to maintain price stability.

While recognizing the challenges posed by crypto-assets, the IMF-FSB synthesis paper cautions against implementing a blanket ban, stating that such bans can be costly to enforce and may heighten financial integrity risks. The paper highlights the borderless nature of crypto-assets, which can encourage circumvention, and the potential for spillover risks if one jurisdiction bans crypto activities, prompting activity to shift elsewhere.

Instead of an outright ban, the paper advocates for a balanced approach, considering factors such as money laundering and terrorist financing risks, capital outflows, and other public policy objectives when formulating regulations. It proposes an “implementation roadmap” to guide the development of crypto-asset policy frameworks.

One of the major concerns addressed in the paper is the lack of comprehensive data on crypto transactions. The growing use of crypto assets for cross-border payments presents data collection and analysis challenges. The paper notes that rapid crypto adoption can impact a country’s monetary independence and financial stability.

To address this, the IMF will take the lead in collecting data, partnering with industry players to gather information on crypto-assets used for payments. The goal is to facilitate collaboration between statistical agencies and regulatory bodies to shape regulations related to data requirements for crypto-assets.

The paper also highlights concerns about stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to the value of other assets or currencies. It warns that foreign currency-denominated stablecoins could trigger rapid capital flight if they become more convenient and cost-effective to hold than traditional foreign currency bank accounts. This could potentially disrupt emerging economies. The report points out that stablecoins, while facilitating various transactions, carry risks associated with maintaining a stable value and dependence on private issuers.

The IMF-FSB synthesis paper will be submitted to G20 members ahead of the Leaders’ Summit scheduled for September 9 and 10. There is growing anticipation of achieving a consensus on a common regulatory framework during the meeting. India, as the G20 Presidency, has been proactive in pushing for minimum common regulations for cryptocurrencies. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has advocated for data collection on crypto-assets as a prerequisite for regulatory decisions.

As discussions within the G20 progress, any agreed-upon crypto regulations would mark a lasting legacy of the Indian Presidency. While the Indian government seeks international consensus on cryptocurrency regulation, the RBI has publicly expressed opposition to cryptocurrencies and called for their complete ban.

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Saniya Raahath
Saniya Raahath

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