Digital

EU Agrees on Stricter Bank-Capital Legislation and Cryptoasset Regulations

Picture Source: BeInCrypto

The European Union (EU) has reached an agreement on new bank-capital legislation, including regulations pertaining to cryptoassets. The proposed rules aim to prevent unbacked cryptocurrencies from entering the traditional financial system. These measures are part of an effort to integrate Basel III standards, developed in response to the 2008 financial crisis, into EU legislation. The implementation of these standards is intended to strengthen the stability of the global banking system by imposing stricter capital, liquidity, and leverage requirements for banks.

Stricter Rules for Cryptoassets:

The proposed changes in the Capital Requirements Regulation & Directive include the introduction of a risk weight of up to 1,250% for cryptocurrencies. This means that banks would be required to hold over one euro in assets for every equivalent value of cryptoassets. The intention behind these measures is to ensure that banks can maintain their operations even in the face of external shocks, crises, or disasters.

A Step Forward:

Swedish Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson, who chaired the negotiations, hailed the agreement as a “major step forward” in safeguarding the banking sector. The integration of stricter regulations derived from Basel III standards is seen as a crucial move towards maintaining financial stability. However, it is important to note that the proposals still need to be voted on by member states and the EU parliament before becoming finalized.

Global Standard-Setting Organization’s Recommendations:

In December 2022, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the global standard-setting organization for the banking industry, issued recommendations for banks’ exposure to cryptoassets. These recommendations suggested that a bank’s exposure to certain cryptoassets should not exceed 2% and should generally be lower than 1%. However, the adoption of these rules by individual jurisdictions remains a decision to be made, with a proposed deadline of January 2025.

Managing the Volatility:

Policymakers and regulators continue to express concerns about the inherent volatility of digital assets. The significant price fluctuations witnessed in the cryptocurrency market have raised apprehensions about stability and risk management. Some experts argue that imposing capital requirements on digital asset holdings could be justified as a measure to prevent overleveraging and potential implosions, citing past instances like Celsius and BlockFi.

Balancing Stability and Adoption:

While acknowledging the need for stability in the financial system, some observers question whether the proposed capital requirements are solely intended to foster stability or if they might discourage the adoption of digital assets. Striking the right balance between regulation and fostering innovation remains a challenge for traditional financial institutions and regulators.

Conclusion:

The agreement reached by the EU on new bank-capital legislation and cryptoasset regulations represents a significant step towards strengthening the stability of the global banking system. The proposed rules, incorporating Basel III standards, aim to mitigate risks associated with cryptoassets and ensure banks’ ability to withstand external shocks. However, further deliberations and voting are necessary before these proposals can be enacted. The ongoing discussion underscores the challenges faced by regulators in managing the volatility of digital assets while encouraging their responsible adoption in the financial sector.

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