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Global Weekly Fintech Update

25 January 2021

25 January 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 & MATERIALS

Clifford Chance briefing – Overview of the 10th ARC-Digitization Act amendment​​

SPOTLIGHT

Far-reaching EU proposals for digital regulation

Jurisdictions globally are grappling with how to regulate tech giants. Europe is leading the pack with its recently proposed package regulating digital platforms and online marketplaces – the first major overhaul of EU rules for online players for two decades. 

The Digital Markets Act will require certain digital platforms to refrain from a long list of practices that are considered unfair or to limit competition. In contrast, the Digital Services Act focuses on regulating the way that providers of online intermediary services interact with their customers and users, and their obligations in respect of harmful or illegal content. In combination, the two pieces of proposed legislation will create Europe’s most interventionist sector-specific regulatory regime in decades, and would require significant changes to the business practices of large digital sector players, as well as potentially smaller competitors. 

What do these proposals mean for your business and what are the next steps in the legislative process?

Read our comprehensive analysis in these briefings to find out more:

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

AMERICAS

US:

  • (21 Jan 2021) The New York Department of Financial Services has announced the launch of its inaugural 'TechSprint', in which teams will compete to develop prototype solutions aimed at gathering real-time financial data on crypto-businesses. Interested participants must register by 26 January 2021. | Press release
  • (20 Jan 2021) White House memorandum announcing a freeze on all pending rulemaking until they can be reviewed by the incoming administration. Although not mentioned specifically, this freeze will impact the Treasury's controversial 'unhosted wallets' proposal, which was announced on 18 December 2020 and which would, if enacted, require registered crypto-businesses to hold more information about their customers.
  • (13 Jan 2021) A draft act (H.R.296) has been introduced to Congress, which seeks to establish an agency responsible for combating the use of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing and for other illicit purposes.

APAC

China:

  • (15 Jan 2021) Blogpost from China's national blockchain system, the Blockchain Service Network, on its plans to build a universal digital payments network designed to facilitate the transfer of central bank digital currencies.
  • (13 Jan 2021) China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission measures (in Chinese) which introduce a pilot framework for grading consumer finance companies, including e-commerce firms and fintechs, based on factors such as corporate governance, internal controls and their management of capital, risk and information technology.

India:

  • (13 Jan 2021) The Reserve Bank of India has announced it has set up a working group to study all aspects of digital lending activities in the regulated financial sector, as well as those that fall outside the current regulatory perimeter. The group intends to publish a report on its findings in​​​ April 2021. | Press release​

Japan:

  • (15 Jan 2021) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) draft report​ (in Japanese) on the governance of artificial intelligence (AI), including consideration of AI principles, risk assessments, classifications and governance structures, and the approach to regulating AI governance in Japan. METI is seeking public comment on the opinions set out in its draft report, with responses due by 13 February 2021. | Press release (in Japanese)

Malaysia:

  • (31 Dec 2020) Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) policy document ​on its new licensing framework for digital banks​. Among other things, the new framework requires companies wishing to continue to conduct digital banking activities in Malaysia to apply for a licence from BNM by 30 June 2021. | Press release ​

Singapore:

  • (18 Jan 2021) Monetary Authority of Singapore guidelines on risk management principles and best practice standards aimed at helping financial institutions manage technology risk.

Europe

EU:

  • (20 Jan 2021) Joint statement​ of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the EU Commission on their cooperation on the possible introduction of a digital euro​, in which the institutions confirm they are currently jointly reviewing a broad range of policy, legal and technical questions. 
  • (19 Jan 2021) EU Commission strategy for fostering openness, strength and resilience in the European economic and financial system. Among other things, the strategy includes a focus on promoting the international role of the euro, including through the possible introduction of a digital version. | Press release
  • (18 Jan 2021) Letter​ from ECB Executive Board Member, Fabio Panetta, to Irene Tinagli, Chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), setting out some of the key findings from the ECB's consultation on the issuance and design of the digital euro. 

France:

  • (19 Jan 2021) The Bank of France has announced it has successfully piloted the use of a central bank digital currency to settle monetary fund shares on a private blockchain platform | Press release (in French)

Germany:

  • (19 Jan 2021) An amendment​ (in German) to the Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC-Digitisation Act) has been adopted. The amendment introduces, among other things, provisions specifically designed to address competition issues in the digital markets. | Clifford Chance summary

Gibraltar:

  • (12 Jan 2021) The Government of Gibraltar has announced it has established a working group responsible for ​developing appropriate market standards for digital asset exchanges. These standards will be added to Gibraltar's existing distributed ledger technology regulatory framework. | Press release

Spain:

UK:

  • (19 Jan 2021) Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report setting out the potential harms to competition and consumers posed by the use or misuse of algorithms in digital markets. The report marks the launch of the CMA's new programme of work on algorithms and is accompanied by a call for evidence, which seeks views from academics and industry experts on the risks posed by algorithms in digital markets and on future areas of focus for the CMA. Responses are due by 16 March 2021. | Press release
  • (15 Jan 2021) House of Lords EU Services Sub-Committee call for evidence​ on the future of UK-EU relations on trade services, which seeks views on a number of service sectors, including financial services and data and digital services. Responses are due by 5 February 2021.

Middle East

UAE:

  • (18 Jan 2021) Dubai Financial Services Authority business plan 2021-2022 in which it announces its intention to enhance the current cryptoasset regulatory framework in Dubai to include a wider range of digital assets and service providers, including tokenised securities and trading platforms.
CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Warsaw Perspectives series – Three years of GDPR – what now? An attempt to assess and determine the perspective for the development of the European privacy protection system (12 May 2021):
The GDPR has become a part of our everyday lives. During this seminar, we will consider what has changed in personal data protection over the last three years, how the financial sector is affected by these changes, to what extent the regulatory authority should use its powers and what other changes are to be expected. | Please note this seminar will be delivered in Polish, for more information and to register, please contact the Warsaw Perspectives team.

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.