Major Crypto Firms Need Extra Rules, Global Cooperation, ECB’s McCaul Says

The central banker said firms like Binance should be forced to disclose legal status and lines of accountability, with extra rules on top of the European Union's upcoming MiCA crypto regulation.

AccessTimeIconApr 5, 2023 at 3:21 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 5, 2023 at 4:23 p.m. UTC

Major global crypto companies like FTX and Binance need to be subject to tougher rules with more international regulatory cooperation, Elizabeth McCaul, a member of the European Central Bank's supervisory board, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

McCaul, a member of the ECB arm responsible for overseeing banks, said recent attempts to regulate crypto such as the European Union’s Markets in Crypto Assets regulation, or MiCA, wouldn’t fully address the problem of complex international structures, or the “ecosystem” companies that claim to have no headquarters.

“How can we supervise firms that have no physical borders?,” McCaul said. “We need to put more thought into imagining what international coordination will look like and how it can be effective in regulating the crypto world.”

McCaul cited precedents from banking, where consolidated groups are governed by “colleges” of international supervisors. She also noted that with securities, regulators defer to foreign jurisdictions that are deemed to be equivalent, but said that crypto companies would need to become more legally accountable.

“No jurisdiction should allow entities to run their business without disclosing their legal status and who is responsible for the business,” she said. “Even firms that claim to have no headquarters, such as Binance, need to be ‘supervisable’.”

While smaller entities could remain under MiCA, which is set to be made final by the European Parliament within weeks, McCaul said major crypto providers would need a separate regime with stricter requirements and enhanced supervision. The threshold for deeming an operator as "significant" also needs to shift, given that neither FTX nor Binance, two crypto exchanges, met the current criteria, she added.

Fabio Panetta, who sits on the ECB’s executive board, has previously described crypto as a “Ponzi scheme” fueled by greed. ECB President Christine Lagarde has also called for more laws in areas like crypto staking and lending that MiCA doesn’t cover.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Jack Schickler

Jack Schickler was a CoinDesk reporter focused on crypto regulations, based in Brussels, Belgium. He doesn’t own any crypto.