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Sue McLean

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In February 2018, the UK Treasury Committee launched an inquiry into digital currencies.  In the course of its inquiry the Committee received oral and written evidence from a number of key players in the crypto space, including representatives from Ripple, CryptoUK and Blockchain, together with evidence from the FCA (the UK financial services regulator), the Bank of England and HM Treasury. Earlier than expected, the Treasury Committee published its crypto-assets report and conclusions and recommendations…

The EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum (EBOF) launched in February 2018 has published its first thematic report outlining the current state of blockchain in Europe. It’s a pretty broad report, but does provide a helpful overview of progress to date and give some useful insight into the EU’s priorities. Europe: fertile ground for blockchain growth and innovation? EBOF views Europe as being in a prime position for blockchain technologies. The report outlines recent and ongoing…

On 18 July 2018 the European Parliament Committee on Internal Trade (“CIT”) published a draft report setting out a motion for a European Parliament Resolution regarding how blockchain could be harnessed to enhance international trade and supply chain management. The report focuses on the use of permissioned (private) blockchain solutions. Blockchain  Benefits   The CIT believes that blockchain provides enormous opportunities for reducing barriers within global trade. In particular, the potential benefits of permissioned blockchain…

On 3 July 2018, the European Banking Authority (EBA) published a report outlining the prudential risks and opportunities arising from FinTech as part of its 2018 FinTech Roadmap. The report includes useful guidance on the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for trade finance and CDD (although the EBA is keen to note that the report should not be considered to provide an exhaustive list of possible prudential risks and opportunities that may arise.) Trade…

On July 16 the Financial Stability Board (“FSB”) published a report establishing a framework to monitor-crypto-asset markets.  The report sets out the metrics that the FSB will use to monitor crypto-asset markets in order to identify any emerging financial stability concerns in a timely manner. The FSB is an international body made up of national financial authorities, international financial institutions, and international standard-setting bodies, and monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. The…

Lithuania becomes the latest jurisdiction to release guidance in relation to ICOs. On 8 June 2018, the Lithuanian Government released new Guidelines to deal with what it referred to as an “explosion of ICOs” in the country.  Lithuania heralds itself as a leader in FinTech and has published the ICO Guidelines as a step towards more “certainty and transparency in the regulatory, taxation [and] accounting” requirements of ICOs, and also, importantly, to encourage the crypto…

On 11 June, the UK’s financial services regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), published a “Dear CEO letter” providing guidance on how banks should handle the financial crime risks associated with cryptoassets. The FCA is concerned that cryptoassets are being used in criminal activities such as money laundering or terrorist financing. The regulator expects banks to take reasonable and proportionate measures to lessen the risk of facilitating such crimes. The FCA notes that where banks…

23 European countries have signed a Declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership. The Partnership is intended to be a vehicle for cooperation amongst EU Member States to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields and prepare for the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market for the benefit of both the public and private sectors. The EU partners are keen to ensure that EU plays a leading…

On May 16, 2018 the European Parliament’s Committee on Research, Industry and Energy adopted a resolution on blockchain focused on making the EU a global leader in the development and adoption of blockchain. The resolution was proposed by Eva Kaili, Greek MEP, blockchain advocate and chair of the EU’s Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel which provides independent studies and information to help MEPs assess the impact of new technologies. The resolution advocates for the use…

The UK government launched its first FinTech Sector Strategy in March 2018. One plank of its strategy was to create a Cryptoassets Task Force formed of representatives of the Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority. The Task Force is intended to help the UK be at the forefront of harnessing the potential benefits of the new technology, while guarding against potential risks. In particular, the Task Force is expected to assess…