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Weekly Global Fintech Update

01 June 2021

01 June 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
SPOTLIGHT: 

This week TheCityUK published its latest report Cryptoassets: shaping UK regulation for innovation and global leadership, including contributions from Clifford Chance and other firms. The report highlighted five important principles for driving innovation and shaping regulation in this space, including the need for industry engagement to achieve an appropriate risk-based approach and the importance of distinguishing between uses of DLT and crypto that create new products that need new bespoke regulation, and uses of DLT that are merely an alternative delivery mechanism or serve a record-keeping function for existing regulated products and services.

The report was launched with a lively panel discussion chaired by Andy Silvester, Managing Editor, CityAM, with expert crypto industry panellists including Senior Associate Diego Ballon Ossio

Grab some popcorn and watch the launch event recording here – the panel follows an introduction and summary of the report's key findings from TheCityUK.

GLOBAL LEGAL AND REGULATORY UPDATES

International 

  • (24 May 2021) Alternative Investment Management Association report on the global crypto-hedge fund landscape | Press release

Africa

South Africa:

  • (25 May 2021) The South African Reserve Bank has announced it has begun a study to investigate the feasibility, desirability and appropriateness of a general-purpose retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). It expects to conclude the study in 2022. | Press release

Americas

Canada:       

  • (20 May 2021) Bank of Canada annual review of the financial system, in which it outlines the key risks and vulnerabilities faced by the economy. The review includes chapters on the risks posed by cryptoassets and the increasing digitisation of the financial system.

US:  

  • (26 May 2021) Testimony given by the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, before the House Appropriations Committee on the trends impacting the SEC's work, including decentralised finance (DeFi), cryptoassets lending platforms and data analytics. Among other things, Gensler notes that the SEC intends to work with fellow regulators and Congress to fill gaps in investor protection in the cryptoasset markets.
  • (25 May 2021) The 21st Century Dollar Act (H.R.3506) has been introduced to Congress. If passed, the bill would require the Treasury Department to publish a report on the policy and governance of the US dollar, including consideration of current CBDC initiatives in the US and internationally.
  • (24 May 2021) Speech by the Governor of the Federal Reserve, Lael Brainard, on the digitisation of money. Among other things, Brainard calls on the US to ensure it is at the forefront of CBDC initiatives in order to maintain the US dollar's position as a global reserve currency.

APAC

Australia:     

  • (21 May 2021) Australian Securities and Investments Commission consultation on proposed amendments to the ePayments Code. The consultation focuses on amendments to the reporting, protections and complaints handling procedures, but also covers proposals designed to modernise the code, such as defining biometric authentication and expanding the definition of 'payment instruments' to include virtual cards. Responses are due by 2 July 2021. | Press release

China:            

  • (26 May 2021) Inner Mongolia Development and Reform Commission consultation (in Chinese) on measures designed to combat cryptoasset mining in the region, including placing offenders on a social credit blacklist and revoking business licences. Responses are due by 1 June 2021.
  • (21 May 2021) The Financial Stability and Development Committee of the State Council has met to discuss the areas of future focus for the financial sector. Among other things, the Committee agreed to strengthen its efforts to abolish Bitcoin mining and trading​ in China. | Press release (in Chinese)

Hong Kong:

  • (21 May 2021) Government report​ setting out the findings from its recent consultation on legislative proposals aimed at enhancing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations through the introduction of, among other things, a licensing regime for virtual asset service providers and a minimum investment threshold for crypto-trading. In light of the feedback, the Government intends to prepare a bill implementing these proposals for submission in the 2021-22 legislative session. | Press release

Republic of Korea:    

  • (24 May 2021) Bank of Korea bidding announcement (in Korean) for a partner to assist the bank in researching the practicalities of launching a CBDC in a test environment.

Europe

EU:  

  • (27 May 2021) Speech​ by European Central Bank (ECB) Supervisory Board Member, Pentti Hakkarainen, on the ECB's current suptech agenda​.
  • (25 May 2021) European Securities and Markets Authority call for evidence​ on digital finance, following a request for technical advice from the EU Commission. The call focuses on issues around the fragmentation of value chains caused by an increasing reliance on third parties and the entrance of technology companies in financial services, digital platforms and the bundling of financial services, and groups which combine financial and non-financial activities. Responses are due by 1 August 2021. | Press release
  • (19 May 2021) Speech by Executive Board Member of the European Banking Authority, Fabio Panetta, on the digital future of the European retail payments ecosystem. 

Germany:    

  • (26 May 2021) Draft ordinance (in German) published by the Federal Ministry of Finance, which introduces enhanced due diligence requirements for cryptoasset transactions. The proposed ordinance will require credit and financial institutions to collect information and report on the identities of individuals transferring or receiving cryptoassets. | Press release (in German)

Luxembourg:              

  • (20 May 2021) Bill No.7825​ (in French) lodged with the Luxembourg Parliament. The bill will, among other things, implement Regulation (EU) 2020/1503 on European crowdfunding service providers. It appoints the Luxembourg financial sector supervisory authority, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, as the competent authority for the application of the regulation, and sets out its supervisory, investigatory and sanctioning powers.

UK:

  • (18 May 2021) Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport report​ ​summarising the responses to its consultation on a proposed national data strategy

Middle East

Kuwait:

  • (22 May 2021) Central Bank of Kuwait statement on the risks associated with cryptoassets. The statement emphasises that cryptoassets are not deemed legal currency in Kuwait and are not subject to regulation or supervision.
CLIFFORD CHANCE EVENTS

Perspectives series: Fintech regulation and policy – what’s coming over the horizon? (15 June 2021):

Our panel will look at what the next twelve months holds for international fintech regulation, including key reforms and areas of focus for regulators in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US. We will discuss the impact of recent political developments, and the effect they are expected to have on regulation in the short and longer term for key fintech products including cryptoassets, artificial intelligence and payments. | To register, please see the event registration form.

Loan Market Association Fintech Virtual Conference (17 June 2021):

Clifford Chance is delighted to be sponsoring and participating in the Loan Market Association (LMA)'s virtual fintech conference this year. LMA member firms are invited to attend the virtual panel discussions and interactive debates, which will consider the extent to which technology-driven changes are happening in the loan market and what challenges still remain. Clifford Chance partners Bas Boris Visser and Kate Scott will be chairing and participating in the opening panel on fintech trends for the loan market and Clifford Chance Applied Solutions will be demonstrating our document automation platform, CC Dr@ft. | LMA members can register at the event webpage

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. 

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.