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Joint IMF and FSB Report Warns Against Total Crypto Bans

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: AdobeStock / Alexey Novikov

A joint policy roadmap released by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cautioned against outright bans on cryptocurrencies. 

The policy paper, commissioned by the G20 under India’s leadership, has emphasized the need for comprehensive regulatory oversight to address risks related to crypto-assets.

The IMF-FSB synthesis paper, set to be presented to the G20, is part of a broader effort to establish global norms for the crypto industry following a series of high-profile collapses last year. 

The report highlights the importance of strengthening monetary policy frameworks, managing capital flow volatility, and establishing clear tax treatment for cryptocurrencies to tackle macroeconomic risks.

The report echoes the IMF’s position that blanket bans on cryptocurrencies may not effectively mitigate associated risks. 

Instead, it suggests that targeted restrictions could be useful, especially for emerging economies. 

Countries like India have expressed concerns about the potential impact of widespread crypto use on monetary policy in developing nations and have called for stronger prohibitions or specific measures to address these concerns.

A Blanket Ban Could Force Crypto Activities to Become Illegal

The report argued that implementing blanket bans would make all crypto activities illegal within a jurisdiction.

It further added that a blanket ban is not only costly and technically challenging but could also lead to the migration of crypto-related activities to other jurisdictions, creating additional risks. 

“They also tend to increase the incentives for circumvention due to the inherent borderless nature of crypto-assets, resulting in potentially heightened financial integrity risks, and can also create inefficiencies.”

The report said that restrictions should not replace robust macroeconomic policies, credible institutional frameworks, and comprehensive regulation and oversight, which serve as the primary defense against the macroeconomic and financial risks associated with crypto-assets.

“A decision to ban is not an ‘easy option’ and should be informed by an assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks and other considerations, such as large capital outflows and other public policy aims,” the report said. 

IMF and FSB Suggest Targeted Restrictions  

While blanket bans may not be advisable, the IMF and FSB suggest that jurisdictions consider targeted and temporary restrictions to manage specific risk factors during stressful times or while seeking internal solutions. 

The report mentioned some examples of such restrictions, including targeted measures against privacy coins in Dubai and a ban on Nigerian banks serving crypto firms.

The roadmap also addresses concerns regarding stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies pegged to the value of other assets or currencies. 

The report warned that the proliferation of stablecoins could pose threats such as currency replacement or bank runs in emerging economies. 

It claimed that rapid capital flight could occur if foreign currency-denominated stablecoins become more accessible and affordable than foreign currency bank accounts. 

The report also highlighted the risks associated with maintaining a stable value and dependencies on private issuers, as demonstrated by the de-pegging of algorithmic stablecoin terraUSD last year, which resulted in significant capital losses.

Finally, the joint paper claimed that discussions within G20 could help regulatory bodies with data requirements. 

“These discussions within the G20 could also facilitate the collaboration of statistical agencies with regulatory bodies to influence regulations regarding data requirements for cryptoassets,” the paper read.