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U.S. secretary Yellen will sit with top watchdogs to discuss stablecoin regulation

On Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced her plans to put the regulation of stablecoins on the agenda. She will hold a meeting on July 19 of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (PWG) to discuss stablecoins’ regulation. Also joining the meeting will be the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

According to the announcement, “The PWG was established to enhance the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of U.S. financial markets.”

Yellen stressed the importance of clarity and said:

“Bringing together regulators will enable us to assess the potential benefits of stablecoins while mitigating risks they could pose to users, markets, or the financial system.”

The Secretary detailed:

“In light of the rapid growth in digital assets, it is important for the agencies to collaborate on the regulation of this sector and the development of any recommendations for new authorities.”

Yellen is a member of the PWG, which includes some serious heavy weights. Others participating along are the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

A security?

The PWG’s “Statement on Key Regulatory and Supervisory Issues Relevant to Certain Stablecoins,” published in December 2020 will serve as basis for discussion.

According to the publication “depending on its design and other factors, a stablecoin may constitute a security, commodity, or derivative subject to the U.S. federal securities, commodity, and/or derivatives laws.” The document further stresses that:

“Stablecoin participants and arrangements must meet all applicable anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and sanctions obligations before bringing products to market.”

The PWG is expecting to issue written recommendations on stablecoins and its asserted risks in the coming months.

The announcement comes after Ripple Labs is in the trenches in its fight with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission over the alleged sale of XRP as a security.

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Author: Peter Siu