Antitrust Experts Worldwide Discuss Crypto

FinTech’s disruption of existing financial markets has hit a nerve with lawmakers around the world, particularly antitrust regulators. All aspects of financial services have been affected, from back-office processes and retail banking to investment management and fundraising. 

It is the infiltration of cryptocurrencies, however, that is the most troublesome for watchdogs, as discussed in the June 2022 issue of Competiton Policy International.

Marcel Haag, head of the directorate for jobs, growth and investment at the European Commission Secretariat-General, said the European Commission’s proposed legislative frameworks — the Distributed Ledger Technology pilot regime and Regulation on Markets in Crypto-Asset — are being embraced as a forward-looking policy toward digital finance.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) — the U.K.’s regulator for financial services — is fostering cooperation with innovators through its regulatory sandbox launched in 2016. DLA Piper law partner Michael McKee and associate Marina Troullinou said the sandbox allows innovators to test new products in a live market environment in close collaboration with the FCA.

The regulatory design of cryptocurrencies in Australia should move away from a rules-based approach in favor of a principles-based strategy, according to Melbourne Law School Professor Andrew Godwin.  

Competition Policy International (CPI), a media company focusing on antitrust reporting, also joined in the conversation.

Christopher B. Leach pointed to the active participation of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission when it comes to cracking down on unfair practices and enforcing the many laws associated with deceptive behaviors.

Privacy should be recognized as a fundamental right and a federal framework is needed to address that, Susan Joseph maintained, and trust frameworks need to mesh with new laws to support that end.

Commodity or bespoke regime? The question of how crypto-assets should be regulated is a point of discussion that Lee Reiners thinks legislators and policymakers will face for years to come.

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