IMF: Global Crypto regulation should be comprehensive, consistent, and coordinated
According to the experts of International Monetary Fund (IMF) global crypto regulation should be comprehensive, consistent and coordinates. In this sense the IMF’s mandate is to safeguard the stability of the international monetary and financial system, and crypto assets are changing the system profoundly.
Crypto assets and associated products and services have grown rapidly in recent years. Furthermore, interlinkages with the regulated financial system are rising. Policymakers struggle to monitor risks from this evolving sector, in which many activities are unregulated. In fact, we think these financial stability risks could soon become systemic in some countries.
While the nearly $2.5 trillion market capitalization indicates significant economic value of the underlying technological innovations such as the blockchain, it might also reflect froth in an environment of stretched valuations. Indeed, early reactions to the Omicron variant included a significant crypto selloff.
According to the IMF experts, the global regulatory framework should provide a level playing field along the activity and risk spectrum. We believe this should, for example, have the following three elements:
- Crypto-asset service providers that deliver critical functions should be licensed or authorized. These would include storage, transfer, settlement, and custody of reserves and assets, among others, similar to existing rules for financial service providers. Licensing and authorization criteria should be clearly articulated, the responsible authorities clearly designated, and coordination mechanisms among them well defined.
- Requirements should be tailored to the main use cases of crypto assets and stablecoins. For example, services and products for investments should have requirements similar to those of securities brokers and dealers, overseen by the securities regulator. Services and products for payments should have requirements similar to those of bank deposits, overseen by the central bank or the payments oversight authority. Regardless of the initial authority for approving crypto services and products, all overseers—from central banks to securities and banking regulators—need to coordinate to address the various risks arising from different and changing uses.
- Authorities should provide clear requirements on regulated financial institutions concerning their exposure to and engagement with crypto. For example, the appropriate banking, securities, insurance, and pension regulators should stipulate the capital and liquidity requirements and limits on exposure to different types of these assets, and require investor suitability and risk assessments. If the regulated entities provide custody services, requirements should be clarified to address the risks arising from those functions.