An overview of crypto regulation

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The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, with support from the Nomura Research Institute (NRI), conducted the first global comparative study of cryptoasset regulation and the report doesn’t disappoint.

According to the authors of the report, “the study covers 23 jurisdictions and is based on both desktop research and in-person interviews with regulators and policymakers. The report aims to compare and contrast various regulatory approaches and practices with regards to cryptoassets in a number of jurisdictions and shed light on current regulatory challenges and opportunities.”

Highlights from the report include:

  • The lack of standard terminology for cryptoassets across regulators and jurisdictions hampers a coordinated global regulatory response.

  • The most sophisticated regulatory frameworks are found in countries with a less rigid attitude towards financial regulation and a low level of domestic cryptoasset activity. In contrast, 47 per cent of jurisdictions with a high level of domestic cryptoasset activity have adopted a "retrofitting" approach to regulation - amending existing laws and regulations in order to bring cryptoasset activities under the scope of existing laws.

  • The vast majority of examined jurisdictions (82 per cent) have distinguished cryptoassets that exhibit characteristics of a security from other types of cryptoassets. Consequently, activities dealing with cryptoassets that qualify as a security are automatically brought under the ambit of securities law.

  • Regulators have primarily focused their attention on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and exchange trading – functions that resemble well-understood activities in traditional financial markets. Consequently, other key activities specific to cryptoassets, such as alternative token distribution mechanisms (e.g. airdrop, fork) and the creation of cryptoassets through mining, have been overlooked. This may have significant impact depending on how the cryptoasset market develops.

The report is broken down into four sections, which are summarized here:

In addition to these high level summaries, there are a number of interesting graphics and visualizations throughout the report. Here are a few that stood out to me:

It is obvious that a lot of work went into creating this report. I found it to be well-researched and informative. If you want to read the entire document, you can see it here:


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