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Global Weekly Fintech Update

18 October 2021

18 October 2021

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.

You are welcome to share the round-up with colleagues who may like to subscribe.

CLIFFORD CHANCE PUBLICATIONS AND MATERIALS

The nail in the coffin for artificial intelligence (AI) inventorship? Thaler v Comptroller General

UK aims to become a global AI superpower: to regulate or not to regulate

IOSCO publishes AI guidance for market intermediaries and asset managers

SPOTLIGHT: The Law Review's Virtual Currency Regulation Review - UK Framework

We are excited to have recently authored the UK chapter for the fourth edition of the Virtual Currency Regulation Review published by Law Business Research Ltd. The Review is a country-by-country analysis of developing regulatory initiatives aimed at fostering innovation, while at the same time protecting the public and mitigating systemic risk concerning trading and transacting in virtual currencies.

The UK chapter, written by Laura Douglas (Senior Associate, London), provides a useful overview of how cryptoassets fit into the current UK regulatory framework covering issues such as securities and investment laws, banking and money transmission, anti-money laundering, regulation of exchanges, miners, issuers and sponsors and criminal and civil fraud and enforcement.

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International

  • (13 Oct 2021) G7 public policy principles on retail central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which set out thirteen common considerations regarding the public policy implications of retail CBDCs. | Accompanying statement on CBDCs and digital payments
  • (13 Oct 2021) Financial Stability Board (FSB) report setting out its high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision and oversight of global stablecoin arrangements under the 'same business, same risk, same rules' principle. | Press release
  • (13 Oct 2021) FSB roadmap for the enhancement of cross-border payments. The plan includes a focus on the potential role of new payment infrastructures and arrangements, including global stablecoin arrangements and CBDCs. | Press release
  • (12 Oct 2021) International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on global financial stability. The report notes that the 'cryptoization' (i.e. the increasing use of cryptocurrencies by a country) in emerging markets and developing economies could pose a risk to macroeconomic and financial stability. The IMF states that these risks are currently contained but calls on regulators to monitor them carefully and address them when necessary. | Press release
  • (7 Oct 2021) Spe​ech by the Head of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, Benoît Cœuré, on technology-based disruption of the financial sector, banking supervision and monetary policy.

Americas

Mexico:         

  • (12 Oct 2021) Speech by the Governor of the Bank of Mexico, Alejandro Díaz de León, on the seven public policy principles Mexican financial authorities are following when developing regulation for big tech in the financial space.

US:  

  • (12 Oct 2021) Speech by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner, Caroline Crenshaw, in which she argues against the cryptoasset 'safe harbor' proposal (which would grant network developers a three year grace period to build a functional or decentralised network, exempt from the registration requirements of federal securities laws). Crenshaw states that the proposed rules would exacerbate the risks to investors and markets in situations such as the initial coin offering boom and subsequent crash of 2017 and 2018.

APAC

Australia:     

  • (13 Oct 2021) Government ransomware action plan, which sets out a series of proposals designed to crack down on ransomware attacks in Australia. The proposals include increased penalties for offenders and amendments to existing legislation to make it easier for Australian authorities to freeze financial transactions associated with cybercrime, regardless of the country of origin.  

China:            

  • (8 Oct 2021) Updated draft (in Chinese) of the National Development and Reform Commission's catalogue for guiding industry restructuring, which sets out the industries that the Chinese Government wishes to encourage, restrict or eliminate. Crypto-mining, which was included in the April 2019 draft catalogue but removed in the final version published in November 2019, has been re-added to the list of industries that the Government wishes to wind-down.
  • (7 Oct 2021) Recording of a speech by the Governor of the People's Bank of China, Yi Gang, on the regulation of big tech in China. Yi states that China will continue to strengthen its regulation of fintech companies, with a focus on payment services, antitrust issues and data protection. Yi also calls for all financial services to be licensed by regulators before being allowed to operate, and for any connection between financial information systems and fintechs to be tightly controlled.

Hong Kong:

India:             

  • (12 Oct 2021) Speech from the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, T. Rabi Sankar, on India's efforts to foster responsible digital innovation in the financial sector.

Japan:             

  • (15 Oct 2021) Speech (in Japanese) from the Director of the Bank of Japan, Shinichi Uchida, on the Bank's current position on CBDCs. Uchida notes the Bank has no immediate plans to issue a CBDC but that if it did develop one, it would seek a 'simple' design that could coexist easily with private payment methods.

Republic of Korea:             

  • (14 Oct 2021) Bank of Korea response (in Korean) to the consultation issued by the BIS Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure (CPMI) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on their proposed guidance regarding the application of the principles for financial market infrastructures to systemically important stablecoin arrangements. The Bank states it has played an active part in establishing standards for stablecoins and expects to implement the CPMI-IOSCO rules once finalised.

Europe

EU:  

  • (14 Oct 2021) The EU Telecommunications Ministers have met for an in-depth policy debate on the EU Commission's proposed AI Act. The delegations welcomed the overall purpose of the proposal but indicated that many issues require further discussion, in particular the scope of the Act. The Council's telecommunications working party intends to present a compromise proposal in November 2021. | Press release
  • (14 Oct 2021) The European Banking Authority (EBA) has announced it has repealed its guidelines on the security of internet payments. Since their publication in December 2014, the guidelines have been superseded by the revised Payment Services Directive and regulatory technical standards on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication. The EBA has called on national authorities to take the necessary steps to reflect this repeal. | Press release
  • (8 Oct 2021) Speech by Executive Board Member of the European Central Bank, Fabio Panetta, on non-bank financial intermediaries (NBFIs), such as big tech firms, and global stablecoins. Panetta calls for a widening of the regulatory perimeter to address the cross-border challenges posed by the rapid expansion of NBFIs.

France:          

  • (12 Oct 2021) Speech by the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of France, Denis Beau, on the challenges posed by the digitalisation of the financial sector and the steps the Bank is taking to address them.

UK:

  • (13 Oct 2021) Speech by the Bank of England (BoE) Deputy Governor for Financial Stability, Jon Cunliffe, on the financial stability risks of the growing cryptoasset space. Cunliffe flags, in particular, cryptoassets' volatility, lack of regulation and the speed of the sector's development. He notes that the BoE has begun to investigate the challenges posed by decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms and how to ensure they are held to the same standards as those in traditional finance.
  • (12 Oct 2021) Recording of an evidence session held by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee in relation to its new inquiry on CBDCs. Clifford Chance Partner, Simon Gleeson, provided evidence at the session, which covered, among other things, the key issues driving central banks to explore CBDCs, the potential risks of privately issued digital currencies, and the options for balancing privacy and anti-money laundering requirements when designing a CBDC. The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 15 October 2021. | Evidence session webpage
  • (8 Oct 2021) Summary of the topics discussed during the recent meeting of the BoE's Financial Policy Committee (FPC). The FPC considers that the direct risk that cryptoassets pose to the stability of the UK financial system remains low but calls on financial institutions to remain cautious and prudent when considering whether to adopt such assets.

Middle East

UAE:

  • (13 Oct 2021) The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Under the ADGM/CBUAE MoU, the two agencies agree to collaborate on the development and growth of the UAE's fintech sector, including establishing a joint regulatory sandbox to allow fintech firms to test innovative products and services. Under the DIFC/CBUAE MoU, the two agencies agree to further their fintech collaboration, including increasing activity relating to their existing regulatory sandbox programme. | ADGM/CBUAE press release | DIFC/CBUAE press release | See our table of fintech cooperation agreements for more information and a full list of international agreements.
CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Digital Assets Week (20-21 October 2021):

Clifford Chance is proud to be sponsoring and participating in Digital Assets Week, a two day hybrid conference on 20 and 21 October. The conference will focus on two key themes: the confluence of traditional funding and listing players with new digital exchange and platform opportunities, and the institutional adoption of digital assets. Clifford Chance Senior Associate, Diego Ballon Ossio, will be speaking on the 'Going mainstream with institutional crypto' panel. | For more information and to register, please see the event page.

Global Perspectives Series: Exploring global attitudes to artificial intelligence (AI) and regulation (9 November 2021):

Our expert panel will discuss highlights from our report, 'Attitudes to AI and regulation', an extensive YouGov survey of more than 1,000 tech policy professionals, developed in collaboration with global advisory firm Milltown Partners. We will explore AI issues such as trust and bias, and challenge some of the commonly held misconceptions around attitudes to AI regulation and law. We will also share our predictions for AI in 2022. | For more information and to register, please see the Perspectives Series programme.

Warsaw Perspectives Series: CBDCs and stablecoins – is a revolution in financial markets and payment services approaching? (15 December 2021):

New CBDC solutions are being implemented by central banks, governments and international organisations, and the private sector is developing various types of digital payment instrument as an alternative to fiat currency. Join Clifford Chance Partner, Andrzej Stosio, for a seminar on the fundamental impact these developments may have on global and local financial markets and the legal, regulatory and economic challenges they pose. Please note this seminar will be held in Polish. | For more information and to register, please see the event page.

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. 

Any content above relating to the People's Republic of China (PRC) is based on our experience as international counsel representing clients in business activities in the PRC and should not be construed as constituting a legal opinion on the application of PRC law. As is the case for all international law firms with offices in the PRC, whilst we are authorised to provide information concerning the effect of the Chinese legal environment, we are not permitted to engage in Chinese legal affairs. Our employees who have PRC legal professional qualification certificates are currently not PRC practising lawyers.