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FCA and BOE release discussion papers on stablecoin regulations in the UK

The UK's plans to regulate stablecoins have been set in motion by the release of these discussion papers.

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Nov 7, 2023 05:20:49 PM IST
Updated: Nov 7, 2023 05:29:00 PM IST

FCA and BOE release discussion papers on stablecoin regulations in the UKImage: Shutterstock

On Nov 6, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom (UK) and the Bank of England (BOE) released discussion papers outlining their plans for regulating stablecoins in the UK.

Along with these documents, the BOE’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) has issued a letter to the CEOs of deposit-taking institutions regarding banks’ use of deposits, e-money, and stablecoins. The BOE has also released a “cross-authority roadmap” to link all the documents and explain how the various regimes interact.

The UK government stated their plans of regulating fiat-backed stablecoins in the UK through a document published on Oct 30. According to the document, His Majesty’s Treasury intended to introduce specific legislation in Parliament in 2024, bringing the regulation of fiat-backed stablecoins under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) mandate.

The FCA’s discussion paper explores the same ground in much greater detail. “Our aim is to reduce the serious risks and harms that we have seen in the market, ensure that consumers have appropriate protections when using this money-like instrument and that market integrity is upheld in line with our objectives,” says the FCA in the discussion paper.

The paper outlines potential retail and wholesale stablecoin use cases. It covers discussions on auditing and reporting, the backing of coins owned by issuers, and the independence of the backing assets’ custodian. Moreover, the FCA proposes to apply existing regulatory frameworks to stablecoins with some adaptations.

The BOE proposes a regulatory framework for systemic payment systems using stablecoins and related service providers. It examines the use of sterling-denominated stablecoins in systemic payment systems.

The BOE mentions that it will depend on the FCA to regulate custodians. However, it has not ruled out enforcing requirements if deemed necessary. The BOE points to Anti-Money Laundering and Know-your-customer requirements for unhosted wallets and off-chain transactions as potential regulatory issues that must be addressed.

With the FCA and BOE working together, the UK has taken a forward-looking approach to stablecoin regulation. The joint publications by the two regulators clarify the regulatory regime each form of money and money-like instrument falls under, providing certainty to businesses and consumers.

Shashank is the founder of yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash