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Global Weekly Fintech Update

17 February 2020

14 February 2020

Welcome to this week's global fintech round-up, summarising fintech regulatory developments that have happened around the world along with our Clifford Chance fintech publications and upcoming events.

Details of these and previous developments can also be found on our Fintech Topic Guide on the Clifford Chance Financial Markets Toolkit.

Please click here to subscribe to future editions of the round-up.

CLIFFORD CHANCE PUBLICATIONS AND MATERIALS

Federal Trade Commission unanimously votes for broad review of prior acquisitions in digital markets

Worldwide taxation: the OECD plans for a digital tax solution

SPOTLIGHT

Building Operational Resiliance

In the UK, we have recently seen an increased regulatory focus on operational resilience coordinated between the FCA, PRA, and the Bank of England. Various fintech drivers, including an increase in digital access to financial services, new types of tech risk such as cyber, and a greater reliance on outsourcing are behind this.

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International

  • (Feb 2020) Permanent Bureau of the Hague Convention on Private International Law preliminary document published in advance of the Council on General Affairs and Policy meeting of 3-6 Mar 2020, in which it describes some key private international law implications of distributed ledger technologies and fintech, and sets out recommendations for future work in this area.
  • (12 Feb 2020) Bank for International Settlements working paper on the impact that the efficiencies bought about by fintech will have on financial inclusion.
  • (11 Feb 2020) International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) legal guidelines​ for smart derivatives contracts, focusing on interest rate derivatives. | Press release.
  • (10 Feb 2020) ISDA legal guidelines​ for smart derivatives contracts, focusing on equity derivatives. | Press release.

Americas

US:  

  • (13 Feb 2020) The Department of Justice has bought charges of money laundering conspiracy and the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business against an Ohio resident, who allegedly 'tumbled' Bitcoin (a process designed to conceal the source or owner of the digital currency) from numerous darknet markets. | Press release.
  • (12 Feb 2020) Government Accountability Office report on the Internal Revenue Service's guidance and FAQs on the tax treatment of virtual currencies (updated in Oct 2019), in which it sets out recommendations for improving the guidance to ensure customer compliance. | Report webpage.
  • (11 Feb 2020) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have charged a company and its principal for allegedly soliciting over US$ 33 million for a fraudulent digital asset scheme. | SEC press release | CFTC press release.
  • (11 Feb 2020) House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services hearing on monetary policy and the state of the US economy in which Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Jerome Powell testifies on, amongst other things, the impact of digital currencies, Facebook's Libra and plans to regulate in the future. | Memorandum Video.
  • (10 Feb 2020) CFTC's Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight Director, Joshua Sterling, speech on the regulatory obligations of investment vehicles when investing in derivatives on virtual currency.
  • (6 Feb 2020) SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce speech, in which she proposes a new SEC Rule 195, which would be an administrative safe harbor giving blockchain network developers a three-year grace period exempting them from compliance with federal securities law registration requirements (although not the antifraud rules) in connection with token sales.
  • (6 Feb 2020) Treasury national strategy​ for combatting terrorist and other illicit financing, in which it sets out the ways in which the Treasury Department monitors the use of digital assets and seeks to prevent their use for money laundering and terrorist financing. | Press release.
  • (6 Feb 2020) Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Deputy Director, Jamal El-Hindi, speech, in which he emphasises that 'social media and messaging platforms' that are looking to establish cryptocurrencies must not turn a blind eye to potential money laundering and illicit financing risks.

APAC

Australia:           

  • (10 Feb 2020) Treasury Laws Amendment Bill (2018 Measures No.2) 2019 was passed by the Senate. Amongst other things, the bill aims to enhance the existing fintech regulatory sandbox to encourage usage by allowing a wider range of businesses to test a wider range of products and services. It is expected to receive Royal Asset shortly.

Japan:           

  • (12 Feb 2020) The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan research paper on confidentiality and auditability in a distributed ledger environment. | Executive summary​

Europe

EU:  

  • (12 Feb 2020) The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan research paper on confidentiality and auditability in a distributed ledger environment. | Executive summary​
  • (11 Feb 2020) European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority strategy for supervisory technology (suptech) and strategy for underwriting the cyber insurance market. | Press release.

Poland:

  • (6 Feb 2020) Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) communication (in Polish) on its new project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, aimed at developing the fintech sector in Poland. Amongst other things the project will seek to establish a sandbox, identify and remove regulatory and supervisory barriers to financial innovation and conduct a feasibility study into the use of innovative technologies in supervision (suptech).

Spain:

  • (13 Feb 2020) Spanish Data Protection Agency guidance (in Spanish) on the steps organisations that use artificial intelligence should take to ensure they are compliant with GDPR. | Press release (in Spanish).

Switzerland:

  • (7 Feb 2020) Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) consultation on proposals to lower the client identification threshold values in the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance from CHF 5,000 to CHF 1,000 for exchange transactions in cryptocurrencies, in light of the heightened money-laundering risks they pose.

Ukraine:       

  • (7 Feb 2020) Ministry of Digital Transformation manifesto (in Ukrainian) on the treatment of virtual assets, in which it states, amongst other things, that cryptomining does not require regulation by state authorities.

CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

London – The Future of Money is Digital: Hong Kong's Role in China's Payments Transformation (4 Mar 2020, 6:30pm-7:45pm):
At the end of 2019, President Xi said the country needed to "seize the opportunity" afforded by blockchain technology which will have a wide array of applications in China. Hong Kong has, over the last few years, been actively engaged in the opportunities and ongoing development within China, as well as looking to develop its own homegrown tech transformation. Clifford Chance partners Caroline Meinertz, Simon Gleeson and Samantha Ward, along with the Head of the UK Investment Office at UBS, Geoffrey Yu, are taking part in a panel discussion, exploring Hong Kong and China's tech transformations, how Hong Kong can serve as a testing ground and launch pad for companies offering services to the global markets and how cryptocurrencies will impact on the global financial model. | For more information please contact our China Desk on +44 (0) 20 7006 3337 or click here to RSVP.

Additional Information

This publication does not necessarily deal with every important topic nor cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not designed to provide legal or other advice. Clifford Chance is not responsible for third party content. Please note that English language translations may not be available for some content.

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