Archive:October 16, 2017

Bank of England FinTech Accelerator Lessons
Taiwan takes a stance on ICOs
Abu Dhabi Global Market sets out guidance on ICOs

Bank of England FinTech Accelerator Lessons

By Jonathan Lawrence

In remarks on 6 October: The Bank of England’s FinTech Accelerator: what have we done and what have we learned?, Andrew Hauser (Executive Director, Banking, Payments and Financial Resilience) surveyed the Bank’s current and future contributions to the FinTech regulatory debate.

Mr Hauser predicts that traditional distinctions between regulated and unregulated activities will blur as conventional models of intermediation being progressively ‘unbundled’. He posed questions about judging the appropriate positioning of the regulatory perimeter to ensure that risks are appropriately overseen whilst allowing valuable innovation to flourish. He highlighted a Proof of Concept within the Bank’s accelerator, Enforcd, which examines tools allowing the Bank’s legal team to draw out common trends in publicly available regulatory enforcement actions in order to inform the Bank’s own work.

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Taiwan takes a stance on ICOs

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

On 6 October 2017, Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission chairman, Wellington Koo, attended a joint session of the Taiwanese parliament and cabinet in response to a request by legislator Jason Hsu to clarify Taiwan’s stance on cryptocurrency. During the session Koo pledged to adopt a friendlier stance to support the development of cryptocurrencies and blockchain and not follow neighbours China and South Korea who both recently banned initial coin offerings (ICOs).

This move appears to be well received by Hsu who stated “Just because China and South Korea are banning, doesn’t mean that Taiwan should follow suit – there is a huge opportunity for growth in the future. We should emulate Japan, where they treat cryptocurrency as a highly regulated, highly monitored industry like securities.”

Abu Dhabi Global Market sets out guidance on ICOs

By Rizwan Qayyum

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has released guidelines on ICOs and Virtual Currencies.

Much like other guidance, consumer protection is the key motivating factor behind this release. It notes that if an ICO has characteristics of a security, i.e. some associated right of ownership or value in the issuing company, then the FSRA will regulate. Christopher Kiew Smith, head of FinTech at the FSRA discusses the “incredibly diverse” market of quality of ICOs and thus some of the tokens issued will be of high-risk for consumers.

The FSRA appear to want to work with firms who aim to use ICOs in a “transparent fashion”. Under the issued guidelines, companies wishing to execute an ICO must approach the FSRA to learn whether it will fall under the body’s regulation. Companies will also be requested to publish a prospectus (which is assuming similar to a current white paper, but the extent of information required in this was not mentioned), and further, secondary market operators dealing with ICOs must also be approved by the FSRA.

There are, however, some ICOs that will remain unregulated. If a token issued as part of an ICO does not constitute an “offer of securities” it will remain unregulated. In such instances, the regulator said investors should exercise “extreme caution” before committing money.

The FSRA also commented on virtual currencies, noting that these are not legal tender, but seen as “commodities”; akin to precious metals. As such, these remain unregulated.

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