US federal regulators set new expectations for stablecoin issuers

December 25, 2020   Tether

A group of leading U.S. financial regulators has released a new statement on stablecoins. One of the headlining topics of crypto regulation news this year, stablecoins were the main topic of a Dec. 23 statement the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, or PWG. The PWG includes representation from the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The group’s stated opinions were hardly revolutionary, mostly saying that stablecoin issuers would need to abide by all the typical rules of the road in terms of financial law. The regulators say that stablecoins need to have systems in place to abide by all applicable anti-money laundering requirements before coming to market. 

Morever, the regulators did not say that stablecoins are necessarily currencies or commodities, which are subject to less aggressive regulation than securities or derivatives. They instead left the question open:

“Depending on its design and other factors, a stablecoin may constitute a security, commodity, or derivative subject to the U.S. federal securities, commodity, and/or derivatives laws.”
The announcement quotes Treasury Deputy Secretary Justin Muzinich as saying, “The statement reflects a commitment to both promote the important benefits of innovation and to achieve critical objectives related to national security and financial stability.”

It is a frequent chorus among regulators handling new technologies, but especially those altering the function of money: Responsible innovation. But here it’s interesting to note a clarified expectation of stablecoin projects to have certain systems in place ahead of launch.

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