As would probably be expected, the collapse of FTX has turned up the volume on the rumblings for increased cryptocurrency regulation.
While we can’t know for sure what the future has in store, we can make some educated guesses based on what governments and major financial institutions are saying. Here’s a quick look at what we might see in the months ahead.
What Governments are Doing About Crypto Regulation
Banking behemoths like JP Morgan and Wells Fargo are both predicting big changes in crypto regulation in 2023. They note that one obvious place to start, rather than drafting new legislation, is to put existing regulatory proposals on the fast track to adoption. One great example of this is the Markets in Crypto Assets (or MiCA) bill in the European Union.
Far from a new proposal, MiCA has been working its way through the EU’s legislative process since 2020. According to the European Parliament’s official website, MiCA “would establish harmonized rules for crypto-assets at EU level, thereby providing legal certainty for crypto-assets not covered by existing EU legislation.” The bill seeks to enhance “the protection of consumers and investors as well as financial stability [by promoting] innovation and use of crypto-assets.”
MiCA is expected to pass its final hurdle soon and come into force in 2023 or early 2024.
El Salvador is a particularly interesting case because it became the first country to officially designate Bitcoin as legal tender —meaning all businesses were required to accept it as payment — back in 2021 (an “experiment” considered a failure by many of its citizens, for what it’s worth).
The country’s legislative assembly will shortly consider a bill to establish a National Digital Assets Commission that would introduce new regulations covering “digital asset issuers, service providers and other participants involved in the ‘public offering process’ of
The United States
In the U.S., Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, never a fan of the cryptocurrency market to begin with, has voiced support for increased regulation.
"The recent failure of a major cryptocurrency exchange and the unfortunate impact that has resulted for holders and investors of crypto assets demonstrate the need for more effective oversight of cryptocurrency markets,” she said in a statement released shortly after FTX’s collapse. (2)
Yellen went on to say that the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets has been meeting “with its regulatory partners to identify risks in crypto markets” for the past year, well before the issues with FTX came to light.
Although it’s unclear what, specifically, we may see in terms of increased regulation, it seems almost certain that more is coming. “Going forward, it’s vital we do what is necessary to address these concerning risks and act to protect consumers and promote financial stability,” Yellen has said.
What the Financial Industry Thinks About Crypto Regulation
As mentioned, many large financial institutions are predicting at least some change in the way the crypto industry is regulated in the months to come.
JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon is an outspoken critic of cryptocurrencies of all types and hasn’t been shy in making his opinions known. He’s referred to them at various times as a “fraud” and “decentralized Ponzi schemes,” as well as comparing owning tokens to owning a “pet rock.”
Dimon’s personal opinions aside, JP Morgan’s analysts feel that new regulation in the U.S. is likely. Though they aren’t sure what form that may take, the analysts indicate “that new regulatory initiatives are likely to [focus] on ‘custody and protection of customers’ digital assets as in the traditional financial system.’”(3)
Wells Fargo hasn’t issued an official or specific position on cryptocurrency regulation, but it has indicated that it generally supports sensible regulation that enhances consumer protection and provides clarity to the market. As with many things in the crypto space, what that “sensible regulation” looks like is still up in the air.
Changes are Coming to Cryptocurrency Regulation
While no one has a crystal ball, and specifics are impossible to predict with certainty, it is pretty clear that enhanced regulation is coming to crypto markets sooner rather than later.
This is where Gumbo’s commitment to remaining small and nimble and always ready to adapt quickly will help us move forward no matter the regulatory environment, so we can continue to outpace others in the industry.
(1) “El Salvador Proposes Digital Securities Bill, Paves Way for Bitcoin Bonds,” https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2022/11/23/el-salvador-proposes-digital-securities-bill-paves-way-for-bitcoin-bonds/ (2) “Statement by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on Recent Crypto Market Developments,” https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy1111 (3) “JP Morgan believes regulation will lead to convergence of crypto, TradFi,” https://cryptoslate.com/jp-morgan-believes-regulation-will-lead-to-convergence-of-crypto-tradfi/