The G20 (Group of Twenty) has ‘unanimously adopted’ a September 2023 joint paper on crypto regulation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). This event took place in Morocco on Thursday. The G20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 sovereign countries, the European Union and the African Union.
The fourth and final meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBGs) under the Indian Presidency is ongoing (Thursday- Friday) at Marrakech, Morocco, on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Annual Meetings.
According to a press release on Friday morning, the FMCBGs have adopted the G20 Roadmap on crypto assets. This detailed and action-oriented roadmap will help coordinate global policy as well as develop mitigating strategies and regulations on crypto assets. It also takes into consideration the specific implications on Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs).
The G20 states:
“We call for swift and coordinated implementation of the G20 Roadmap, including implementation of policy frameworks; outreach beyond G20 jurisdictions; global coordination, cooperation and information sharing; and addressing data gaps.”
The IMF-FSB paper
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a paper in September titled “IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper: Policies for Crypto-Assets.“
The IMF-FSB paper advocates for comprehensive oversight of crypto instead of a blanket ban. Its high-level recommendations include cross-border cooperation and information sharing between regulators, a demand for comprehensive governance and risk management frameworks for crypto companies, and a guarantee of access to relevant data provided by companies to the authorities.
According to the paper, the first review of the proposed measures’ implementation status should happen by the end of 2025.
What the G20 adoption could mean
Regulators worldwide have been calling for a global framework on crypto recently in order to avoid the possibility of regulatory arbitrage and inconsistencies. But how effective can these recommendations be in sovereign countries? That’s up for debate.
The G20 move marks a notable step towards a global consensus on the need to address the ever-evolving digital currency landscape. However, it’s crucial to understand that this decision is, in essence, a recommendation rather than a binding mandate on member states.
The Synthesis Paper, drafted by the IMF and FSB, serves as a comprehensive overview of principles which include ensuring financial stability, safeguarding against money laundering and illicit financing, and fostering innovation in the digital currency space.
However, it’s crucial to note that this adoption is not legally binding. While G20 member states may choose to incorporate the recommended principles into their national regulatory frameworks, they are not obligated to do so.
The adoption serves more as a collective recognition of the importance of addressing cryptocurrency issues at the global level. The fact that the Synthesis Paper is a recommendation highlights the sovereignty of G20 member states in determining their regulatory paths. Each nation may consider its unique economic and security concerns when addressing cryptocurrencies.
In summary, the G20’s unanimous adoption of the IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper on crypto regulation is a positive step towards harmonizing global approaches to digital assets. However, it’s essential to recognize that this action remains non-binding, leaving individual member states with the ultimate decision-making power regarding how they regulate cryptocurrencies within their borders.
For instance, in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Securities and Exchanges Commission, and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) are all coming up with conflicting frameworks for blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The journey towards comprehensive global cryptocurrency regulation is still in its early stages, and much work lies ahead to bridge regulatory gaps and ensure the stability and security of the digital financial landscape.