UK regulators have announced plans to regulate stablecoins that could potentially pose a risk to the country’s financial system. The plans, outlined in discussion papers published on Monday, specifically target stablecoins pegged to the value of the British pound. The Bank of England (BOE) stated that these stablecoins are considered to be the most likely to be widely used for payments. The BOE described the discussion paper as an exploratory phase in developing the new regulatory regime. Feedback from the industry will be taken into consideration before the Bank consults on its final proposals. The BOE will be responsible for regulating these “systemic stablecoins” and their issuers, while the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will oversee the broader crypto sector. Legislation for fiat-backed stablecoins is set to be introduced early next year.
The BOE’s discussion paper was published alongside another discussion paper by the FCA, as well as a letter by the country’s Prudential Regulations Authority (PRA) to deposit-takers. The PRA emphasized the need for lenders to mitigate the risks of contagion. It clarified that the protections available to traditional deposit takers differ from those available for stablecoin users. According to the PRA, contagion risks will be lower for stablecoins used in systemic payment systems regulated by the Bank, compared to e-money or other regulated stablecoins captured by the FCA’s regime.
In its own paper, the FCA clarified that stablecoin issuers will be required to seek authorization to circulate fiat-backed stablecoins in or from the UK. This move by UK regulators is part of a broader global trend towards increased regulation of stablecoins. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) recently published a report highlighting the potential risks associated with stablecoins and calling for regulatory oversight. The FSB’s report emphasized the need for a coordinated international approach to address these risks.
The regulation of stablecoins is seen as crucial in ensuring the stability and integrity of the financial system. Stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies designed to maintain a stable value by being pegged to a reserve asset, have gained popularity in recent years. They offer the potential for faster and cheaper cross-border payments, as well as increased financial inclusion. However, concerns have been raised about their potential impact on financial stability, consumer protection, and money laundering.
The UK’s move to regulate stablecoins reflects a growing recognition of the need to address these concerns. By introducing a regulatory framework, the UK aims to strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring the safety and soundness of the financial system. The government’s plans to introduce legislation for fiat-backed stablecoins next year demonstrate its commitment to staying ahead of the curve in this rapidly evolving sector.
It is important to note that this is a developing story and further updates are expected as the regulatory framework takes shape. The UK’s approach to stablecoin regulation will likely have implications for other jurisdictions grappling with similar issues. As the global regulatory landscape continues to evolve, coordination and collaboration among regulators will be crucial in effectively addressing the challenges posed by stablecoins and ensuring the stability of the financial system.