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G20: Think Tank, Ministers, Central Bankers to Talk Crypto, CBDC Policy

G20: Think Tank, Ministers, Central Bankers to Talk Crypto, CBDC Policy 101
In December 2019, Saudi Arabia took over the G20 presidency from Japan, becoming the first Arab nation to take over the G20 presidency. Source: g20.org

The G20 will once again tackle the issue of cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), with an influential think tank, ministers and central bank chiefs set to embark on discussions in the weeks and months ahead.

The T20, a research and policy advice network that reports to the G20’s presidency (currently Saudi Arabia) on summit agenda items, has revealed that one of its task forces will be looking into cryptocurrency regulation.

The T20’s TF8 team, per its website, will be tasked with examining “the governance and regulation of cryptocurrency and fintech, their impacts on the international monetary system, their potential use in money laundering and terror financing, and how these activities can be monitored.”

The T20 team is made up of mostly Saudi Arabia-based experts, and its advice could be an indicator of the sort of crypto policy direction Riyadh intends to take at crucial G20 meetings this year.

The TF8 lists “governing and regulating cryptocurrency” as one of its seven priorities:

  • Managing risks and crises in capital flows and international institutions
  • Old and new threats: making financial institutions as modern as the markets
  • Encouraging inclusive financial sector development in developing and emerging economies
  • Governing and regulating cryptocurrency and fintech, and their impacts on the international monetary system
  • Global financial governance, the cooperation between multinational and regional authorities, central bank independence and revisiting the G20's Eminent Persons Group
  • Global financial monitoring of money laundering, terror financing and the efficiency of financial institutions
  • The role of Islamic finance

In 2018, Saudi Arabia warned its citizens that cryptocurrency is illegal within its borders. However, in November 2019, reports have started to circulate that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plan to launch joint digital currency. Meanwhile, in the UAE, in January 2020, Dubai announced its plans to launch Crypto Valley – what it calls the world's largest ecosystem for cryptographic, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

The T20 also discussed cryptocurrency last year, ahead of the G20 Summit, where Japan actively pushed its international counterparts to adopt crypto policing measures and coordinate international efforts.

Per media outlet Mainichi, central bank governors and finance ministers will discuss “digital currencies” at a summit to be held on February 22-23 in Riyadh.

Also, the Saudi G20 Presidency will be hosting a ministerial-level G20 Symposium on International Taxation in Riyadh on 22 February in order to discuss the progress made on tax transparency and address the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy.

The bankers and ministers will also talk about the financial impact of the coronavirus at the summit – with fuel prices set to fall and a number of business sectors already suffering as the deadly disease continues its worldwide spread.

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