Derivatives Trade Association ISDA to Develop Common Standards for Crypto Assets

ISDA is aiming to characterize the different features of crypto assets and their relevance to contractual standards.

Dec 16, 2021 at 10:12 a.m. UTC
Updated Dec 16, 2021 at 3:21 p.m. UTC

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), a trade organization, is working to develop common legal standards for derivatives linked to crypto.

  • ISDA published a white paper Tuesday aiming to characterize the different features of crypto assets and their relevance to existing contractual standards, and identify events that might cause problems with derivatives pegged to crypto assets.
  • The events highlighted by ISDA include forks, airdrops, cyberattacks and changes in law or regulation. The paper also seeks to explore how digital assets can be valued and what happens when that valuation cannot be obtained.
  • As a global standard setter, ISDA’s standards are incorporated for derivatives trading in mainstream markets such as bonds and equities. Having an equivalent template for crypto could be a boon for institutional investment into the digital asset market.
  • ISDA’s announcement followed less than a week after crypto exchange FTX’s U.S affiliate became a member of the association. As one of the most prominent derivatives platforms in crypto, FTX has a 24-hour trading volume of nearly $14.5 billion, according to CoinGecko.


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Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.