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Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, Ms. Natasha X Che, Ankita Goel, Mike Li, Umang Rawat, and Yong Sarah Zhou
Drawing on survey responses from 34 Asian economies and country case studies, this note takes stock of recent developments related to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and crypto assets in Asia. The survey finds that there is significant heterogeneity in terms of stage of development, but the emergence of private crypto assets has created an impetus to consider CBDCs. While most countries are engaged in research and development, with some at advanced stages of testing and pilots, very few countries are likely to issue CBDCs in the near-to-medium term, reflecting the still considerable uncertainties. Still, country experiences so far provide some key insights for others in their journey in this area.
Parma Bains, Arif Ismail, Fabiana Melo, and Nobuyasu Sugimoto
Unbacked crypto assets are the oldest and most popular type of crypto assets, relying not on any backing asset for value but instead on supply and demand. They were originally developed to democratize payments but are mostly used for speculation. Crypto assets were designed to disintermediate financial services, but centralized entities, such as exchanges and wallet providers, offer key functions to users and sustain the necessity of trust in one or several entities. At present, many of these entities are not covered by existing conduct, prudential, or payment regulations and can generate risks to market integrity, market conduct, and potential financial stability. We recommend that global bodies work to develop common taxonomies that can inform global and cross-sectoral standards while improving data insights. Standards should be risk-based, with greater requirements on entities and activities that generate more risk. Crypto asset service providers that deliver core functions and generate key risks should be licensed, registered, or authorized.
Mr. Charles R Taylor, Christopher Wilson, Eija Holttinen, and Anastasiia Morozova
Fintech developments are shaking up mandates within the existing regulatory architecture. It is not uncommon for financial sector agencies to have multiple policy objectives. Most often the policy objectives for these agencies reflect prudential, conduct and financial stability policy objectives. In some cases, financial sector agencies are also allocated responsibility for enhancing competition and innovation. When it comes to fintech, countries differ to some extent in the manner they balance the objectives of promoting the development of fintech and regulating it. Countries see fintech as a means of achieving multiple policy objectives sometimes with lesser or greater degrees of emphasis, such as accelerating development and spurring financial inclusion, while others may support innovation with the objective of promoting competition and efficiency in the provision of financial services. This difference in emphasis may impact institutional structures, including the allocation of staff resources. Conflicts of interest arising from dual roles are sometimes managed through legally established prioritization of objectives or establishment of separate internal reporting lines for supervision and development.