IMF-FSB synthesis paper unveils crucial policy recommendations for VDA stability

India’s G20 presidency has focused on global collaboration regarding virtual digital assets. The IMF and the FSB created this paper at the request of the Indian G20 Presidency to synthesise the IMF’s and the FSB’s (together with the SSBs‘) policy suggestions and criteria. The paper offers a comprehensive set of policy and regulatory recommendations aimed at identifying and addressing the macroeconomic and financial stability risks associated with cryptoassets. Let’s understand the key highlights of this paper, which suggest the way forward for proposed policies and regulations to ensure the stability of this rapidly evolving financial landscape. In India, we use the term Virtual Digital Asset (VDA) instead of crypto-asset.

Macro-economic Stability Policies

Safeguarding Monetary Sovereignty and Stability
The IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper underscores the importance of safeguarding monetary sovereignty and stability in the face of VDAs. To achieve this, the paper recommends that VDAs not be granted official currency or legal tender status. This step is crucial to preventing the erosion of traditional monetary systems and maintaining the stability of national currencies.

Guarding Against Excessive Capital Flow Volatility
Another critical aspect of macroeconomic stability lies in guarding against excessive capital flow volatility induced by VDAs. To mitigate this risk, the paper proposes possible policy steps, including clarifying the legal status of VDAs, if necessary, and ensuring that capital flow management laws comprehensively cover them and are effectively enforced. This approach aims to strike a balance between innovation and financial stability.

Addressing Fiscal Risks and Adopting Unambiguous Tax Treatment
Taxation policies play a pivotal role in shaping the VDA landscape. The Synthesis Paper emphasises the need for unambiguous tax treatment of VDAs. Clear and consistent tax policies are essential to prevent evasion and ensure that VDAs contribute their fair share to national revenues.

Monitoring the Impact on the International Monetary System (IMS)
The paper also highlights the importance of monitoring the impact of VDAs on the International Monetary System (IMS). Given the global nature of VDAs, their influence on international financial stability cannot be overlooked. Close scrutiny and timely response are essential to safeguard the integrity of the IMS.

Financial Stability Regulation
The FSB framework within the Synthesis Paper provides detailed recommendations for both VDAs and Global stablecoins.

High-Level Recommendations for VDAs
The paper advocates for relevant authorities to possess appropriate regulatory powers and to apply comprehensive and effective regulation, supervision, and oversight requirements. This approach ensures that the VDA ecosystem operates within a well-defined regulatory framework, promoting stability and investor protection.

Efficient and effective communication, information sharing, and consultation are vital components of the FSB’s high-level recommendations. These measures facilitate collaboration between regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders, enabling a responsive regulatory environment.

To enhance governance within the VDAs sector, comprehensive governance frameworks are proposed, along with effective risk management frameworks. These measures are essential to mitigate operational risks and safeguard the interests of investors and the broader financial system.

The Synthesis Paper stresses the need for robust data frameworks to ensure proper regulation, supervision, and oversight. Data is the lifeblood of effective regulation, enabling authorities to make informed decisions and identify emerging risks promptly.

Transparency is a cornerstone of the recommended regulatory approach. Comprehensive, clear, and transparent information about VDA markets and services is essential to build trust and confidence among market participants and investors.

Authorities are also urged to identify and monitor the relevant interconnections within the VDAs ecosystem and between this ecosystem and the wider financial system. This interconnectedness underscores the need for a holistic regulatory approach that considers systemic risks.

For VDAs service providers that combine multiple functions and activities within their operations, appropriate regulation, supervision, and oversight are deemed necessary. This approach ensures that entities engaging in complex activities are subject to rigorous oversight, mitigating the potential risks they pose.

High-Level Recommendations for Global Stablecoins
The Synthesis Paper recognises the unique risks posed by Global Stablecoins (GSCs) and offers specific recommendations tailored to this category. These recommendations are designed to complement the broader VDAs regulatory framework while addressing the heightened risks associated with GSCs.

Additional Targeted Measures
While the paper outlines a comprehensive regulatory framework, it also cautions against blanket bans on all VDAs activities. Such bans, the paper argues, can be costly and challenging to enforce due to the borderless nature of VDAs. They may also lead to increased incentives for circumvention, resulting in heightened financial integrity risks.

Banning is not an “easy option” and should be guided by an evaluation of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) threats, as well as other considerations such as substantial capital outflows and other public policy goals. Large capital outflows and other public policy aims should also be carefully weighed in the decision-making process.

In a nutshell, the IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper provides a roadmap for policymakers and regulators to navigate the complex landscape of VDAs while ensuring macroeconomic and financial stability. These policy recommendations strike a balance between fostering innovation and safeguarding the integrity of the global financial system. Most importantly, it makes the case against banning VDA. At WazirX, we look forward to partnering with the government to discuss implementation of these recommendations.

(Disclaimer: Recommendations, suggestions, views and opinions given by the experts are their own. These do not represent the views of Economic Times)

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