Cryptocurrencies are undoubtedly the point of investment contention and hence a lot of attention on regulating them. Top 5 USA regulating bodies – SEC, CFTC, IRS, FinCEN, and OFAC and other bodies around the globe are on the job to define a robust regulatory framework.
Recent Facebook stock dip by ~20% in a day losing $120 billion in a day (close to Bitcoin market cap) making rounds on the subject of volatility. If internet 2.0 stock is that volatile, internet 3.0 cryptos are in infancy and only can grow stable is the argument. Ok, let us say we have to deal with crypto volatility over a period of stability. But. what about regulating Cryptocurrencies? Defining Crypto regulations is a next big thing to boost confidence.
As a holistic solution, proposing a three-pronged approach to evolve a Cryptocurrencies Regulatory Framework,
I. Key Players / Stakeholders of Crypto Marketplace:
- Exchanges: As crypto buy & sell transactions happen here, mandatory KYC/AML is the ideal first step in regulating crypto. Crypto to fiat and vice-versa conversions can be audited. Taxes reconciliation can also start here.
- Wallets: All crypto transactions won’t occur on exchanges. Wallets (hardware, web, mobile) plays a role and tracking wallet addresses is a nightmare. Regulators should find a way to get a grip on crypto to crypto transactions and technology should aid them.
- Mining: Miners are another key player to touch upon in evolving regulations and the considering following aspects of mining could be a starting point.
- Resource Usage Regulations: A single country cannot regulate mining and nodes can be shifted across borders (borderless) in a way. While the power consumption rates can be tracked by local regulators, carbon emission controls and ROI targets of natural resources may be logical checks to start implementing. But how is crypto mining different from gold mining if compliant to resource usage guidelines?
- Mined Coins & Transaction Fees: The other aspect of crypto mining in finding blocks and approving transactions thereby either earn income from trading mined coins or collecting fees for transactions clearance. This would be an area of regulators could focus.
- Way Forward: As cryptocurrencies mining progress beyond proof-of-work to proof-of-stack and other formats, the legality takes a different path overcoming the current concerns.
Refer to article for a viewpoint on future of mining regulations.
4. ICOs: While SAFT and Howey Test are initial frameworks available, the holistic framework to regulate ICOs is still in work across the globe. While the clarity on utility vs security of a token being issued via ICO is getting clarity, the complete fold of ICOs into the regulatory framework is yet to shape up with broader acceptance. One question the regulatory bodies is, is the regulatory uncertainty is putting brakes on a promising technology innovation?
II. Modes of Use: Fundamentally like fiat, cryptocurrency could be sued for payment & transactions, a store of value, or a trading vehicle. All three have to encompass in finding a solution. Beyond the usage patterns, a holistic solution may need to touch all “modes of usage” of crypto.
III. Blockchain Layers: Lastly, which layers of Blockchain should be targeted to define regulations? Viewing from the foundation layers of Blockchain namely infrastructure, protocol and application/services, regulations apply to the topmost application layer which interfaces with the users/adaptors of the cryptocurrencies for trading products and services.
Crypto communities are eagerly waiting for regulatory framework the tighten the fraudulent activities and scams and at the same time promote the future promise of 21st-century currencies. Establishing legislation that stimulates growth for businesses and protects consumers is no mean feat, but it is certainly a task that regulatory bodies around the globe can’t ignore.