Introducing the Crypto Valley Ecosystem 2.0 to the World Federation of Exchanges (June 2019)
Introducing the emerging "CryptoValley Ecosystem2.0" to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) as well as CVA, SEBA Crypto AG and Xwiss AG, and discussing challenges to traditional exchanges, the economics and prospects of crypto assets and debating strategic response. With Matthias Obrecht (FINMA), Luca Schenk (Xwiss) and representatives from 28 exchanges / jurisdictions. The emerging Crypto Valley Ecosystem 2.0 is characterised by 1) an articulated and performant regulatory environment that provides legal certainty to blockchain, 2) a higher degree of economic integration of blockchain companies, and 3) an institutional-grade market infrastructure, including licensed crypto banks and exchanges.
Compliance & Crypto: Beyond AML (June 2019)
Interesting experience moderating the panel 'compliance & crypto' at CVLab in Zug with colleagues from leading cryptofinance firms. We purposefully elevated the discussion above the key, yet traditional, AML/KYC topic, to embrace compliance crypto issues more holistically (risk levels, specific vulnerabilities, risk mgt challenges, compliance tools & regtech, governance aspects, required skills in crypto compliance, regulatory standards, banking relationship issues, where standard setting is and should be heading, and - of course - crypto AML issues and approaches).
Standalone, closed-door, discussion at the BIS (April 2019)
Excellent standalone, closed-door, discussion at the BIS, in an expert capacity, meeting a number of in-house senior managers and functional specialists, presenting and discussing i) the challenges for banking raised by Fintech, ii) the Swiss blockchain industry, iii) the CryptoValley and its Association (CVA) and policy initiatives, iv) the cryptoassets markets, the ICO ‘bell curve’ and lessons learned, the nature and prospects of STO, v) the blockchain / crypto regulation in Switzerland, elsewhere and the key prudential and conduct themes, vi) the opportunities and challenges of cryptofinance, and vii) why projects such as SEBA Crypto AG are crucial to achieve the infrastructure ‘level-up’ needed for the cryptomarkets and associated financial processes to reach maturity and sustainability.
Facebook's Libra: A quick assessment (22 June 2019)
Libra is a fintech innovation seriously challenging banking, leveraging real problems of financial inclusion and anachronistic banking, the network of FB and associated partners, and blockchain technology. It is contributing to mass crypto adoption. It doesn’t piggyback on traditional card system, but is debit card in nature - little to do with bitcoin and (its) decentralized blockchain(s). It is a centralised enterprise, potentially a gigantic systemically relevant fund manager (100% backup), supporting government debt, and with an option to operate fractional reserve. Even if Libra technically managed to reconcile highest blockchain consensus security with full decentralization and VISA-like performance, it wouldn’t really have interest in moving beyond the 100 nodes, as this would dilute RoE. Libra’s regulatory ride will be tortuous and long. Regulators emphasize “mass regulation before mass adoption”. Anticipating systemic importance, they will hold it against the highest prudential standards. The importance of central governance and FB data privacy track record add to the concerns. Yet, taking the history of tech change and economic growth as guide, regulators should keep an open mind.
Towards Global Crypto AML Standards (March 2019)
Material developments in crypto regulation! Global AML standards are about to be finalised by the FATF. Regulators and the industry need to walk the last mile (and beyond) together to ensure best outcome. In this short article I recap what happened, clarify why it matters and offer an assessment.