FinTech Law Watch

At the Crossroads of Law, Innovation and Commerce

 

1
California’s Executive Order Embraces Crypto
2
UK’s Increased Regulatory Interest in Cryptoassets
3
The Fed Wants Your Input On A Potential Digital Dollar
4
Do Consumers Really Need More Financial Protections? The UK Government Says Yes!
5
AML Scrutiny in the UK: The Trend Towards Culture of Compliance
6
UK Payments Landscape Review
7
Nebraska’s Play for a Piece of the Digital Asset Pie
8
The Future of Stable (Bank) Coins?: President’s Working Group on Financial Markets Urges Legislation Limiting Stablecoins to Insured Banks
9
California Imposes Additional Requirements on Money Transmitters
10
Satoshi Goes to Washington : Senator Toomey Issues RFI to Inform Digital Asset Legislation

California’s Executive Order Embraces Crypto

By Jeremy McLaughlin and Christian A. Zazzali

On May 4, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on digital assets largely echoing the positive sentiments of President Biden’s February executive order. The order looks to create transparent regulation around digital assets and drive innovation into the state. By directing state agencies to engage in a cooperative discussion with stakeholders and developers in web3, California seeks to create an informed supplement to the federal report on digital assets, which is due in September. 

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UK’s Increased Regulatory Interest in Cryptoassets

By Judith Rinearson and Kai Zhang

On 24 March 2022, the Bank of England (in the name of its Financial Policy Committee) published a paper on the potential risks of cryptoassets to UK financial stability. While the risks are currently considered to be limited given the small size of the cryptoassets and associated markets relative to the global financial system, the FPC notes that the rapid growth of the crypto sector and potential for interconnections with the wider financial system mean that they will present financial stability risks in the future.

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The Fed Wants Your Input On A Potential Digital Dollar

By Jeremy M. McLaughlin and Daniel S. Nuñez Cohen

Last week the Federal Reserve Board (the “Fed”) issued a discussion paper entitled “Money and Payments: The U.S. Dollar in the Age of Digital Transformation” (the “Paper”). The Paper explores the advantages and disadvantages of the Fed issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC or digital dollar); key design considerations of such a currency; and seeks feedback from the public on 22 specific questions directed at those topics.  Comments are due by May 20, 2022. Given that Congress has indicated its interest in the Paper, digital asset and financial services industry participants should use this opportunity to have their voices heard by the Fed and members of Congress.

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Do Consumers Really Need More Financial Protections? The UK Government Says Yes!

By Judith Rinearson and Kai Zhang

In May 2021, the UK‘s Financial conduct authority (FCA) published a consultation paper proposing there would be a “new consumer duty“.[1]  The central proposition is that a firm must deliver “good outcomes” for consumers which is then supplemented by additional requirements. 

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AML Scrutiny in the UK: The Trend Towards Culture of Compliance

By Kai Zhang

On 14 December 2021, National Westminster Bank Plc (“NatWest“), a major bank in the UK, was fined by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA“) close to £265 million for failure to comply with the relevant anti-money laundering (“AML“) requirements with respect to one single client, a Yorkshire jewelry company (“the Client”) during the period from 8 November 2012 to 23 June 2016 (the “relevant period“). The fine would have been nearly £398 million, but NatWest pleaded guilty and therefore was given a reduction. In addition, slightly over £460,000 of crime money was confiscated (which is essentially the fees NatWest gained from the Client.).

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UK Payments Landscape Review

By Kai Zhang

In July 2020, HM Treasury published a “Payments Landscape Review: Call for Evidence” for a strategic review of the UK payments sector. Following feedback from the industry, HM Treasury published its Response to the Call for Evidence in October 2021 which sets out a number of initiatives to ensure the payment sector stays at the “forefront” of technology and innovation.

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Nebraska’s Play for a Piece of the Digital Asset Pie

By Jeremy McLaughlin

On October 1st, Nebraska ingratiated itself to the digital asset industry when the Nebraska Financial Innovation Act (The Act) became effective. The Act offers two pathways for an entity wishing to offer certain digital asset services: a state-chartered bank may create a digital asset division or a digital asset depository may be created under a new charter.

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The Future of Stable (Bank) Coins?: President’s Working Group on Financial Markets Urges Legislation Limiting Stablecoins to Insured Banks

By Judith Rinearson, Jeremy M. McLaughlin, and Daniel S. Nuñez Cohen

On 1 November 2021, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG), in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Comptroller of the Currency, issued a long-awaited joint “Report on Stablecoins” (Report). Per the press release (and a speech by Undersecretary of Treasury Nellie Liang), the Report is intended to “identify regulatory gaps related to “payment stablecoins” (defined as stablecoins that are designed to maintain a stable value and “therefore have potential to be used as widespread means of payment”), and to present recommendations for addressing those gaps.”

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California Imposes Additional Requirements on Money Transmitters

By Jeremy M. McLaughlin

Under a newly-enacted law, money transmitters licensed in California must comply with new customer service requirements starting on July 1, 2022. Under the requirements, a licensee must “prominently display on its internet website a toll-free telephone number through which a customer may contact the licensee for customer service issues and receive live customer assistance.” The line must be operative at least 10 hours a day, Monday through Friday. In addition, California law currently requires a money transmitter to provide a receipt for transactions. Under the new requirements, the receipt must also provide the telephone number through which the customer may contact the licensee for customer service issues.

Satoshi Goes to Washington : Senator Toomey Issues RFI to Inform Digital Asset Legislation

By Jeremy M. McLaughlin, Judith Rinearson, and Daniel S. Cohen

As we have noted in the past, federal regulation of the digital asset/cryptocurrency/DeFi community is evolving and there are many perspectives on what direction it should take. For instance, earlier this week, the House Democratic leadership and a group of moderate House Democrats agreed to a compromise that would prevent the House of Representatives from amending the Senate-passed “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” (H.R. 3684), thereby preserving the bill’s provisions expanding the definition of “broker” under the Internal Revenue Code to apply to various digital asset market participants.

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