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Sue McLean

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The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a ban on the sale of crypto-derivatives and exchange traded notes (ETNs) that reference certain types of crypto-assets (crypto-ETNs) to retail consumers. Firms who carry out marketing, distribution or selling activities in or from the UK of the relevant products to retail clients, will need to comply with these rules by 6 January 2021.

On 3 September 2020, Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, delivered a speech to the Brookings Institution regarding innovation in payments, setting out his view that innovations need to be underpinned by an appropriate regulatory framework to be suitable for use on a wider scale. In his view, stablecoins have the potential to be suitable for widespread use, but must meet the standards of other regulated payments to maintain consumer protection and promote consumer confidence.

Over recent years, the financial services industry has come to be increasingly defined by, and reliant upon, new technologies and systems. Alongside the opportunities afforded by the increased use of technology, regulators are increasingly aware of the growing threat of disruption caused by technology outages and cyber-attacks.

The European Commission and the Council of the EU have set out the EU’s position on the use of global stablecoins. As expected, whilst they accept that financial innovations can benefit the financial sector, they consider that stablecoins pose many global risks, including, but not limited to, risks to consumers and cybersecurity.