This week in TechREG in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), global regulators and several central banks discussed the need for regulating the cryptocurrency space.
While the European Central Bank (ECB) urged a quick implementation of the new European Union rules on crypto, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) announced that it is planning to propose new rules in October.
EU lawmakers took another step to set new rules that may impose some limitations on credit card debt and overdrafts, and United Kingdom lawmakers sent letters to Visa and Mastercard demanding some explanations for the increases in cross-border fees.
ECB Urges for Quick Implementation of MiCA
The ECB published several reports Monday (July 11) warning that financial stability risks stemming from crypto assets are rising, calling for the “urgent implementation of appropriate regulatory, supervisory and oversight frameworks.” While the message isn’t new, the regulator is adding a call for action. After a warning about stablecoins and how important it is to have appropriate regulatory frameworks, the ECB called on policymakers and member states to implement the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) Regulation “as a matter of urgency.”
Financial Stability Board to Propose Crypto Regulations in October
In the latest example of growing cryptocurrency oversight in the EMEA region, the FSB will propose crypto regulations in October to add regulatory teeth to the sector. The board monitors the global financial system, and while it plans to create local regulations in this case, it also pushed for oversight of cryptocurrency and digital assets that covers all parts of the world.
Banque de France Enters Second Phase of Wholesale CBDC Project
Banque de France (BDF) Governor François Villeroy de Galhau said the BDF has kicked off the second phase of experimentation into a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC), which could be used to streamline domestic and cross-border transactions between banks. In a speech announcing the news Tuesday (July 12), Galhau first started off discussing the more familiar topic of a retail CBDC for the eurozone and the ongoing efforts of the ECB to create a usable digital euro in the coming years.
UK Parliament Launches Inquiry Into Crypto
The U.K. Parliament’s Treasury Committee is conducting an inquiry into the role cryptocurrencies play in the U.K. and is asking the public for input. The committee said Wednesday (July 13) that the inquiry will examine “opportunities and risks that crypto assets may bring to consumers, businesses and the government (and associated bodies),” as well as the “potential impact of distributed ledger technology on financial institutions, including the central bank, and financial infrastructure.”
Global Regulators Call for Interoperable Stablecoins, CBDCs
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published Wednesday their guidance on the application of financial market infrastructure rules to stablecoins, including the entities that provide stablecoins. The main message is that when a stablecoin reaches the point to be considered significantly importance, it must comply with the same safeguard rules as any other traditional form of payments.
Big Tech, Data Privacy
Meta’s EU Future Hangs on Irish Authority’s Draft Data Regulations
The outcome of European Data Protection Board (EDPB) discussions that took place Tuesday may have a direct impact on Meta’s ability to provide services like Instagram and Facebook in Europe. Last week, the Irish data protection regulator issued a draft decision that could prevent Meta from moving data about EU users to the United States. WhatsApp would not affected by the decision.
UK Regulator Urges Government to Review Internal Use of WhatsApp, Private Emails
The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published Monday a report about the government’s use of private correspondence channels like WhatsApp, private emails and messaging apps to conduct official business. As a result of the risks identified in the report, the ICO is urging the government to review its policies regarding the use of these channels.
UK Parliament Urges Visa, Mastercard to Explain Swipe Fees Hike
The Treasury Committee at the U.K. Parliament sent letters to Visa and Mastercard Wednesday requesting them to provide explanations of their increases in cross-border interchange fees after the U.K. left the EU. The companies have until July 27 to respond. This inquiry comes after the payment systems regulator explained in a July 4 letter to U.K. lawmakers the two market reviews it is planning to conduct on processing fees and cross-border interchange fees.
EU Lawmakers Agree on Rules to Limit Credit Card Debt, Overdrafts
The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee almost unanimously approved Tuesday the new EU rules that, according to lawmakers, “aim at protecting consumers online from credit card debt, overdrafts and loans that are unsuitable for their financial situation.” The recent approval by the committee paved the way for the start of the interinstitutional negotiations between the parliament, the council and the European Commission, most likely after the summer recess.
UK Regulator Urges Banks to Treat Small Businesses Better or Face Regulatory Actions
The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned banks to provide better service to small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that are struggling with debt, or face more severe regulatory actions. In a letter to the CEOs of the main retail banks in the U.K. published Tuesday, FCA Executive Director Sheldon Mills said the agency is “disappointed to find repeated instances of poor customer outcomes and failures to treat customers fairly” during its review of customer files.
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