On November 18, 2019, Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the UK High Court, announced the launch of a “Legal Statement on Crypto Assets and Smart Contracts,” which he described as a “watershed moment” for English Law. The statement, which can be found here, brings new clarity to the likely status of both smart contracts and cryptocurrencies under English law.
A committee of experts has prepared the statement and, although technically it carries no binding legal authority, it is likely to be regarded as the most authoritative position available until the matters it covers are dealt with specifically by the English courts or by revised legislation.Read More
By Jim Bulling and Rebecca Gill
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released its Feedback and Final Guidance (Guidance) on crypto-assets, specifying when certain types of crypto-assets fall under existing categories. The Guidance is in response to the FCA’s consultation paper from January 2019 on crypto-assets. As we have previously blogged, the consultation paper looked at whether crypto-assets could be considered ‘specified investments’ under the Regulated Activities Order (RAO) and other instruments, and therefore should be regulated.Read More
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has touted further regulation of cryptocurrency markets. In their Consultation Paper (Paper) published on 3 July 2019, the FCA has announced it will begin the consultation process on its proposed move to ban the sale, marketing, and distribution to retail consumers of derivatives and exchange traded notes (ETNs) that reference certain types of cryptoassets.Read More
The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”), an intergovernmental organization aimed at combatting money laundering and thwarting terrorist financing, recently issued final recommendations for the regulation of cryptocurrencies. Although the recommendations are not binding on members–it will be up to each of FATF’s 37 member countries to determine whether to enact the recommendations through legislation or regulation–it is expected that they will have widespread adoption and significant implications for the cryptocurrency industry.Read More
On 28 May 2019, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published Consultation Paper CR02/2019 (Paper), which identifies the risks and regulatory considerations associated with the trading of crypto-assets on crypto-asset trading platforms (CTPs). The Paper seeks input from industry participants amid a growing demand for an international approach to the regulation of crypto-assets, recently illustrated by the G20’s joint request for global regulators to monitor risks and consider multilateral responses in relation to crypt-assets as needed.Read More
In the lead up to the annual G20 Summit, to be hosted by Japan, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has commissioned the creation of a cryptocurrency governance manual. The manual, which will be distributed at the G20 Summit, supports a uniform approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and contains regulatory proposals and justifications relating to the following issues:
- protecting customer assets;
- international security protocols; and
- providing customers with information (particularly in the event of a hack).
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued its consultation paper, Guidance on Cryptoassets. It focuses on where cryptoassets interact with the FCA’s regulatory “perimeter” (the perimeter). The guidance looks at where cryptoassets would be considered ‘Specified Investments’ under the Regulated Activities Order (RAO), ‘Financial Instruments’ such as ‘Transferable Securities’ under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II), or captured under the Payment Services Regulations (PSRs), or the E-Money Regulations (EMRs). It also covers where cryptoassets would not be considered ‘Specified Investments’ under the RAO. Comments on the consultation paper are requested by 5 April 2019.Read More
The UK Cryptoassets Taskforce has recently published its final report. The Taskforce comprises HM Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England and was formed in March 2018.
While the use of cryptoassets for illicit activity remains low in the UK, the Taskforce concludes that these risks are increasing and the use of cryptoassets for money laundering is growing. The UK authorities will bring all relevant firms into anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation. This action will go significantly beyond the requirements set out in the European Union Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The UK government will consult on its proposed actions and will legislate during 2019.