The Sheriff of Crypto Regulation Arrives

Regulators are starting to want to regulate cryptocurrencies, including Facebook’s. A movement welcomed by some actors.

Admire them or hate them, and now have a cryptocurrency installed. Facebook’s announcement of its own Libra on June 18 illustrates this. And if Bitcoin prices continue to oscillate wildly, rebounding after the 2018 drop, again approaching $10,000, or €8,784 (after the $17,000 high at the end of 2017 and the 2017 low of $3,000 the following year).

So much so that regulators in major financial centers around the world are beginning to build frameworks for these financial UFOs. From Singapore to London via Paris, sheriffs are landing virtual currencies in the Wild West. France, which chairs the G7 this year, has decided to create a working group dedicated to cryptocurrency projects, including Facebook’s.

Some market participants claimed to welcome them with open arms. Lionel Fournier claimed: “The power of war will be regulated”. The former BNP Paribas and Bank of America Merrill Lynch has been with BitSpread, a 12-person startup based in Singapore and London, since 2018. Long skeptics of the rise of cryptocurrencies believe they are normalizing.

“The goal is to convince traditional money, that of pension funds or institutional managers, to enter this new area. But for that, it is necessary to have permanent and secure structures. This needs to be recognised and overseen by regulators.

​Unstoppable expansion
They started doing so. Singapore and Switzerland are pioneers. In France, the Pacte law has just authorized cryptocurrency investment funds. In the UK, the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has consulted on the subject and will publish its strategy this summer.

“Currently, cryptocurrency in the UK is not regulated, it is considered cash,” explained Jerôme Lussan, director of Laven Partners, a firm specializing in financial regulation. This means that a person can come from anywhere and put their money into cryptocurrency without asking any questions. He asked the FCA to classify bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as “financial instruments.” Anti-money laundering rules will apply automatically.

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