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Basel Committee to set new digital assets banking standards by end of 2022

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the international standards setter for the banking industry, has long held that the exposure of banks to digital assets needs to be regulated. The body has now revealed that its work on these regulations will soon be made public.

In a press release following its meeting on May 27, the unit of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said that it is currently working towards issuing its second consultation paper on the prudential treatment of banks’ digital assets exposure.

The BCBS highlighted that these regulations are needed urgently in light of recent digital assets market turbulence. The release also noted that the body is looking to finalize the framework for the prudential treatment of digital assets by banks by the end of this year.

“Building on the feedback received by external stakeholders, the Committee plans to publish another consultation paper over the coming month, with a view to finalizing the prudential treatment around the end of this year,” the release said.

The committee first began to clamor to regulate prudential bank exposure to digital assets back in 2019. It opined that the capital requirements for banks looking to get digital currency exposure should be defined.

In 2021, the committee proposed a rule in the first consultation paper it published. The paper suggested that banks that have exposure to digital assets should hold $1 in capital for each $1 of digital assets they hold.

BCBS building on its first consultation paper

The first consultation paper’s proposal has been kicked against by key players such as JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank, but the BCBS is pushing ahead with its plan. Meanwhile, the details of the content of the consultation paper in the works are not known, but an indication of their direction can be gotten from recent remarks by the body’s chair.

Pablo Hernández de Cos, the governor of the Bank of Spain, stated that the BCBS remains dedicated to mitigating risks to the banking system. And to do this, a lot of work needs to be done on regulating digital assets and decentralized finance in particular.

The BIS, the parent body of the BCBS and oversight body of central banks, has not been left out in calling for digital assets regulations. In a report following the Terra crash, the BIS called for stricter regulations of digital currency exchanges.

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