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Global Weekly Fintech Update

26 October 2020

26 October 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.

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

CLIFFORD CHANCE PUBLICATIONS AND MATERIALS

Clifford Chance briefing – EU financial services horizon scanner (includes timelines for legislative initiatives on fintech, operational resilience, cyber and data)

Talking Tech article – Cookies and similar technologies: pending EU e-privacy regulation, the CNIL steps in

Talking Tech article and tracker –  Cryptocustody regulation – what rules apply globally? | Clifford Chance global cryptoasset custody rules tracker

SPOTLIGHT: 

Data breach – significant GDPR fine reduction for British Airways

Following a serious data breach by British Airways (BA) in 2018, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a long-awaited penalty notice fining BA £20m for infringements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This represents a significant reduction from the £183 million fine originally indicated by the ICO and demonstrates the crucial role that companies' actions play in managing their liability for cyber incidents. We look at the key takeaways for firms managing data breaches .

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International

  • (21 Oct 2020) Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report​ on the impact of digital technologies in the areas of financial markets, insurance and pensions, including articles on the tokenisation of assets, open banking and big data and artificial intelligence (AI) in the insurance sector. 
  • (21 Oct 2020) The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published a series of papers analysing the private international law aspects of smart derivatives contracts implemented using distributed ledger technology (DLT) | Press release:
  • (19 Oct 2020) International Monetary Fund (IMF) webinar​ on the future of cross-border payments, during which representatives from the Bank for International Settlements, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and the central banks of the US and Malaysia discuss the merits and drawbacks of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
  • (published 8 Oct 2020, dated 22 Sep 2020) IMF report on the macrofinancial implications of using digital currencies (specifically CBDCs and global stablecoins) for cross-border payments​

Americas

Bahamas:    

  • (20 Oct 2020) The Central Bank of the Bahamas has officially launched its CBDC, the sand dollar | Announcement

US:  

  • (21 Oct 2020) Commodity Futures Trading Commission staff advisory​ on virtual currency for futures commission merchants (FCMs), in which it sets out requirements for how FCMs trading in crypto-derivatives should hold and report customer funds

Venezuela:  

  • (29 Sep 2020) The Office of the National Securities Superintendence has authorised a 'decentralised' national stock exchange based on the Ethereum blockchain to participate in the national economy for a trial period of 90 days. The exchange will enable Venezuelan investors to trade stocks, bonds and real estate in digital form. | Official Gazette announcement (in Spanish)

APAC

China:            

  • (16 Oct 2020) The People's Bank of China (PBoC) has launched a public giveaway of its CBDC (the digital yuan) in the city of Shenzhen as part of a pilot programme to test and promote the CBDC | Press release from the Shenzhen Government

Hong Kong:

  • (21 Oct 2020) Treasury Secretary, Christopher Hui, response​ during a legislative council Q&A session, in which he sets out the Government's current work and views on CBDCs, including its collaboration with the PBoC on its digital yuan pilot

Kyrgyzstan:

  • (16 Oct 2020) The State Tax Service has introduced a special tax regime for firms carrying out cryptomining activities, with a base tax rate of 15% on the amount charged for electricity consumed during mining | Press release (in Russian)

New Zealand:             

  • (19 Oct 2020) Assistant Governor at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Christian Hawkesby, speech​ on the evolution of money and payments in New Zealand, in which he notes that the bank is actively engaging in CBDC research but that it has no imminent plans to issue one.

Europe

EU:  

  • (22 Oct 2020) European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board Member, Fabio Panetta, speech ​on European payments in the digital age, in which he announces that the ECB intends to consult on its new oversight framework for electronic payments in the coming weeks.
  • (21 Oct 2020) The EU Parliament has adopted three legislative initiative reports calling on the EU Commission to present a legislative proposal for a new EU AI framework to address issues relating to, among other things, ethics, civil liability and intellectual property rights. The EU Commission is expected to present its proposal early next year. | Press release
  • (21 Oct 2020) The EU Parliament has adopted two legislative initiative reports calling on the EU Commission to address issues in the online environment in its Digital Services Act package, which is due to be presented in December. Among other things, the Parliament calls for future-proof rules on digital services, including online platforms and marketplaces, and for a binding mechanism to tackle illegal content online. | Press release​
  • (20 Oct 2020) The EU Crowdfunding Framework, comprising Regulation (EU) 2020/1503 on European crowdfunding service providers (ECSPs) for business and Directive (EU) 2020/1504 amending MiFID2, has been published in the Official Journal. The Directive and Regulation will both enter into force on 9 November 2020 and the Regulation will apply from 10 November 2021. Member States have until 10 May 2021 to adopt and publish the measures required to transpose the Directive and shall apply them from 10 November 2021. 
  • (19 Oct 2020) EU Commission 2021 work programme, which includes, among other things, a roadmap of 2030 digital targets focusing on the right to privacy and connectivity, free flow of data, cybersecurity and AI | Press release
  • (12 Oct 2020) European Banking Authority consultation​ on the use of digital platforms in the banking and payments sector. Responses are due by 7 December 2020. | Consultation webpage

France:          

  • (15 Oct 2020) First Deputy Governor of the Banque de France, Denis Beau, speech on the work the bank is doing to support the fintech ecosystem in France.

Germany:    

  • (20 Oct 2020) Deutsche Bundesbank Executive Board Member, Burkhard Balz​, speech​ on digital currencies, in which he discusses some current considerations around the introduction of a European or German CBDC, including advocating for the establishment of tools to control CBDC usage.

Latvia:           

  • (16 Oct 2020)  Financial and Capital Market Commission investor warning (in Latvian) on the risks associated with cryptocurrencies.

Russia:          

  • (20 Oct 2020) The Prosecutor General, Igor Krasnov, has announced that, from January 2021, Russian public officials will be required to declare any private holdings of cryptoassets, in line with the legislation introduced in July which classified cryptoassets as property. | Press release (in Russian)

Spain:            

  • (16 Oct 2020) Bank of Spain 2020-2024 strategic plan​ (in Spanish) which includes an analysis of the design and implications of introducing a CBDC in Spain.

Sweden:       

  • (15 Oct 2020) Economic note written by the Governor of the Riksbank, Stefan Ingves, on the future of money and payments, in which he discusses the e-krona pilot and sets out his support for a digital state currency issued by the Riksbank. 

Switzerland:

  • (19 Oct 2020) Federal Council consultation (in German) on a blanket ordinance in the area of blockchain. The proposed ordinance would introduce the legislative amendments passed in September, which established a framework to encourage the use of DLT and blockchain, into law at a federal ordinance level. Responses are due by 2 February 2021. | Press release​

UK:

  • (20 Oct 2020) Financial Markets Law Committee (FMLC) response to the HM Treasury's call for evidence on its proposed review of the payments services landscape. Among other things the FMLC urges the UK Government to consider the uncertainties which may arise in relation to DLT-based innovation in the area of payments systems.
  • (16 Oct 2020) Financial Conduct Authority article​ on future financial market dynamics, with a focus on data sharing and privacy concerns

Middle East

Bahrain:

  • (20 Oct 2020) The Central Bank of Bahrain has launched a fintech hub and regulatory sandbox, FinHub 973, with the aim of encouraging innovation and investment and facilitating the testing of fintech services and activities | Press release​ (in Arabic)

Saudi Arabia:

  • (21 Oct 2020) The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority has launched a national strategy for data and AI (NSDAI), which includes plans to develop a regulatory framework to encourage data-driven businesses, to attract local and foreign investors and to establish an innovative and collaborative ecosystem for the use of data and AI | Press release
CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Talking Tech Live: Legal certainty in the technology environment – a silver lining? (29 October 2020):
The regulatory environment around technological issues is in constant flux. It is therefore important to keep an eye on the current status and be aware of foreseeable changes. In this webinar, the third in a series covering relevant topics from our study with Forbes Insights, Ready, Steady, Grow, members of the Clifford Chance Tech Group in Germany will provide an overview of the current status of important legislative projects in Germany and the EU and what developments are on the horizon, including: GWB Novelle, Digital Services Act, New Competition Tool, use of artificial intelligence, cyber security, tech infrastructure (including autonomous driving and 5G). | Please note this seminar will be held in German, for more information and to register see the event webpage

Perspectives series – Security token offerings: a global perspective (5 November 2020):
Security token offerings (STOs) involve the offering or issuance of digital tokens to investors using distributed ledger technology (DLT) or blockchain, as an alternative to traditional debt or equity financing options. As the global market for STOs has developed over the last few years, so have the approaches taken by regulators in different jurisdictions. Our panel will consider how STOs can be successfully undertaken across key global financial centres and the risks and regulatory challenges to be aware of. | For more information and to register, see the registration form

Perspectives series – Accelerating digital transformation: turning compliance, regulation and automation to your advantage (17 November 2020):
Earlier this year, Clifford Chance worked with Forbes on a global survey of 300 senior business executives, which explored their approach and attitudes to tech-driven growth. In this webinar we will discuss some of the trends and issues raised by the report – including ethical tech, Board reskilling, tech regulation, the workforce of the future, and AI and big data – and how important these are in a post-COVID-19 world. Our speakers will look at the impact these issues could have over the next decade, and what businesses need to think about now. | For more information and to register, see the registration form

Additional Information

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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. 

The 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.