Regulatory Tracker: Cryptocurrency Dominates Amidst Controversy

Countries are monitoring cryptocurrencies as a means of cutting down on money laundering incidents.

Think the furor over cryptocurrencies will abate? Think again.

In the wake of the continued controversy over markets through which initial coin offerings (ICOs) are traded, and after news earlier this month that China banned ICOs, other countries are training their gaze on cryptocurrencies.

The website reported that regulators and legislators in countries such as Japan are looking at how to address these marketplaces, and are focusing on control rather than outright bans. In an effort to cut down on money laundering incidents, Japan, through its Financial Services Agency, is likely to introduce new accounting rules that would govern transactions across the cryptocurrency realm.

Additionally, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has said that it will regulate cryptocurrency sales, similarly to address concerns over fraud tied to ICOs. ICOs, said the MAS, opens up vulnerabilities to money laundering and fraud due to the anonymous transactions and quick paths to significant capital raises.

Separately, the Federal Reserve earlier this month announced the publication of a new paper, (actually a follow-up) tied to the Improving the U.S. Payment System documents published two years ago. As stated before, the initiatives continue to boost speed and security within the payments system. In the document, titled “Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payments Improvement Journey,” the central bank said that it will underpin group efforts to continue to boost faster payments in the U.S., including, among other initiatives, the implementation of ISO 20022 messaging standards and greater adoption of B2B payments done electronically.

In the FinTech arena, Bloomberg reported late last week that regulators in the U.S. are not taking “concrete steps” to give those financial services upstarts charters, as noted by acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika. In a FinTech conference last week, that regulator said that the Trump administration is only “up to our ankles” in delving into the issue and getting its collective feet wet on FinTechs in general.

Across the pond, European Union finance ministers delved into discussions on plans to grab the attention of FinTechs to the continent, in an effort to compete with the United States and China, among other countries.

Reuters reported that discussion hinged on cross-border activity of companies, thus far confined to home markets, looking toward boosting the prospects of younger firms. The EU has a FinTech market worth about $6 billion, compared to China with more than $100 billion.


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