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FTX shows need to regulate crypto before it gets big, says Bank of England

FTX shows need to regulate crypto before it gets big, says Bank of England

A general view of the Bank of England building, in London, Britain on Aug 4, 2022. (File photo: Reuters/Maja Smiejkowska)

LONDON: The implosion of cryptocurrency exchange FTX shows the need to bring the crypto world within the regulatory framework, Bank of England (BoE) Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Monday (Nov 21).

FTX, which has filed for US bankruptcy court protection, has said it owes its 50 biggest creditors nearly US$3.1 billion.

"While the crypto world, as was demonstrated during last year’s crypto winter and last week’s FTX implosion is not at present large enough or interconnected enough with mainstream finance to threaten the stability of the financial system, its links with mainstream finance have been developing rapidly," Cunliffe said.

He added that FTX's woes highlighted the need for regulators to put in place tighter controls as quickly as possible.

"We should not wait until it is large and connected to develop the regulatory frameworks necessary to prevent a crypto shock that could have a much greater destabilising impact," Cunliffe told a Warwick Business School event.

Currently, crypto firms in Britain only have to show they can put in place sufficient controls to stop money-laundering, though many firms have had licence applications rejected by UK regulators.

Britain is approving a new financial services and markets law that will introduce regulation for stablecoins, a cryptoasset backed by an asset like a currrency, and marketing of cryptoassets generally.

Cunliffe said the BoE will set out a public consultation to flesh out rules for stablecoins in more detail on how coinholders' claims on the issuer and wallets should be structured to deliver redemption at par in line with commercial bank money.

"The FTX example underlines how important these aspects are," Cunliffe said.

The finance ministry will also consult soon on extending the investor protection, market integrity and other regulatory frameworks that cover the promotion and trading of financial products to activities and entities involving crypto assets, he added.

Separately, the BoE and finance ministry are looking at the potential for a digital pound.

"Our aim is to ensure that innovation can take place but within a framework in which risks are properly managed," Cunliffe said. "The events of last week provide a compelling demonstration of why that matters."

Source: Reuters/rc
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