Cryptocurrencies: The Year of Regulatory Reckoning

Can governments tame the new financial Wild West?

Tuesday, March 20, 15:00 UK / 11:00 EDT

Governments around the world are conflicted by cryptocurrencies.

• Some are welcoming, seeing the potential benefits of the underlying blockchain technology to their economies and not wishing to stifle innovation in fintech.

• Others are cautious about the threat posed to their fiat currencies and control of monetary policy and what they see as an anonymous conduit for money-laundering and financing terrorism and crime.

• Others, still, are antagonistic towards a development they believe to be fraught with dubious investments and frauds, a view captured by Agustin Carstens, head of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), who described the most widely used cryptocurrency, bitcoin, as "a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster".

Yet expanding institutional and retail participation in cryptocurrency markets, the billions of dollars raised by initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the adoption of cryptocurrencies by Russia and Venezuela to circumvent international financial sanctions are forcing governments to define policy. G20 finance ministers and central bankers will be tackling how to do that in an internationally coordinated way at their summit in Buenos Aires on March 19-20.

Among their challenges:

• How can cryptocurrencies be regulated so they do not pose a systemic threat to financial systems, and yet the regulation does not supress innovation?
• How can consumer financial protections be extended to cryptocurrencies and retail fintech products and services?
• What measures are necessary to ensure that cryptocurrencies and blockchains are not vulnerable to cyber attack?
• How can traditional banks be integrated with the emerging fintech technologies, or will they be disintermediated?

Share your thoughts on the above and put your questions on anything else that concerns or excites you about cryptocurrencies, blockchains and fintech to three of Oxford Analytica's senior advisors in our special conference call on Tuesday, March 20, 15.00 GMT, 11.00 EDT.