The proposed regulatory framework would create substantive obligations on issuers of fiat-referencing stablecoins to safeguard the public.

By Simon Hawkins and Adrian Fong

On 27 December 2023, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (FSTB) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released a consultation paper on their legislative proposal for a regulatory regime governing stablecoin issuers in Hong Kong (Consultation Paper). The HKMA followed with its own press release announcing a future sandbox arrangement for stablecoin issuers.

This blog post summarises the proposed Hong Kong regulatory framework set out in the Consultation Paper, and next steps for stablecoin issuers who may fall within scope of the proposed regime.

As regulatory thinking evolves, firms must ensure that any current or planned use of AI complies with regulatory expectations.

By Fiona M. Maclean, Becky Critchley, Gabriel Lakeman, Gary Whitehead, and Charlotte Collins

As financial services firms digest FS2/23, the joint Feedback Statement on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning issued by the FCA, Bank of England, and PRA (the regulators), and the UK government hosts the AI Safety Summit, we take stock of the government and the regulators’ thinking on AI to date, discuss what compliance considerations firms should be taking into account now, and look at what is coming next.

The FCA recently highlighted that we are reaching a tipping point whereby the UK government and sectoral regulators need to decide how to regulate and oversee the use of AI. Financial services firms will need to track developments closely to understand the impact they may have. However, the regulators have already set out how numerous areas of existing regulation are relevant to firms’ use of AI, so firms also need to ensure that any current use of AI is compliant with the existing regulatory framework.

MAS has published new requirements for DPT service providers and a consultation paper on additional regulations and prohibitions against unfair trading practices.

By Simon Hawkins, Farhana Sharmeen, Adrian Fong, and Tan Gen Huong

On 3 July 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s primary regulator for banks and payment services, announced new custody and segregation requirements for digital payment token (DPT) service providers, including new obligations to safekeep customer assets under a statutory trust.

Additionally, the MAS published a consultation paper (the Consultation Paper) seeking the public’s views on its proposed regulatory measures for DPT service providers and prohibitions against unfair trading practices. The Consultation Paper follows the MAS’ previous consultation paper on proposed regulatory measures for DPT services in December 2022.

The MAS’ proposals largely align with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission’s (SFC) new framework for regulating virtual asset trading platforms (VATP) (see Latham’s blog post), and indicate that virtual asset service providers must comply with regulatory rules similar to the securities regime. This aligned concept aims to ensure investor protection in line with regulators’ “same risk, same regulation” approach.

Congress will be “starting from scratch” in attempting to establish a regulatory framework for stablecoins — an issue that many believe is the top digital asset legislative priority.

By Arthur S. Long, Parag Patel, Yvette Valdez, Pia Naib, and Deric Behar

On April 15, 2023, the US House Financial Services Committee (Committee) published a draft bill on the regulation of stablecoins in anticipation of a hearing by its Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion (Subcommittee) on April 19. Government entities from the Financial Stability Oversight Council to the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets have identified stablecoins as the one type of digital asset that most demands federal regulation. In the prior Congress, leaders of the Committee, Maxine Waters and Patrick McHenry, made material progress on the now published draft bill.

Notably, the April 15 draft bill as published would establish a regulatory framework for stablecoins that would be very similar to the existing framework for banks.

The new regime specifies licensing and reporting requirements for a range of activities related to virtual assets in the Emirate of Dubai.

By Brian A. Meenagh, Matthew Rodwell, and Ksenia Koroleva

On February 7, 2023, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulation Authority (VARA) adopted the Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023 (the Regulations) together with four compulsory and seven activity-specific rulebooks.

VARA adopted these Regulations further to Dubai Law No. 4 of March 11, 2022 on

The Guidance clarifies the regulator’s expectations on safekeeping customer digital assets, and the disclosures that must accompany such arrangements.

By Arthur S. Long, Parag Patel, Marlon Q. Paz, Yvette D. Valdez, Barrie VanBrackle, Pia Naib, Donald Thompson, and Deric Behar

On January 23, 2023, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) published Guidance on Custodial Structures for Customer Protection in the Event of Insolvency (the Guidance). It guides virtual currency entities (VCEs)

The HKMA’s discussion paper seeks feedback on its proposed regulatory approach to stablecoins, with responses due by 31 March 2022.

By Simon Hawkins and Adrian Fong

On 12 January 2022, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Hong Kong’s principal regulator for banks and payment systems, published a discussion paper seeking the public’s views on its proposed approach to the regulation of stablecoins (Discussion Paper). The HKMA outlines its views on the development of stablecoins and proposes questions and its initial outlook for establishing an effective regulatory framework for stablecoin activities in Hong Kong.

The Discussion Paper comes three months after the HKMA issued its technical whitepaper on retail central bank digital currency in October 2021, which considers a proposed architecture for issuing e-HKD. These publications, together with recent consultation conclusions from the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau on implementing a regulatory regime for virtual asset service providers, (see Latham’s blog post), indicate that Hong Kong regulators are moving quickly to create guardrails as financial innovation accelerates.

An ambitious proposal could bring digital assets into the mainstream regulatory fold.

By Yvette D. Valdez, Stephen P. Wink, Adam Bruce Fovent, Adam Zuckerman, and Deric Behar

During an eventful summer for the digital assets industry, it may have been easy to miss US Representative Don Beyer’s introduction of the Digital Asset Market Structure and Investor Protection Act (the Bill) on July 28, 2021. The Bill is perhaps the most promising effort to date by Congress to enact legislation that would address some of the legal ambiguities for digital assets and better define their place within existing financial regulatory structures.

Rep. Beyer described the current legal landscape for digital assets as “ambiguous and dangerous for investors and consumers.” Broadly, the Bill seeks to address deficiencies and/or ambiguities relating to consumer protection, trade reporting and transparency, and anti-money laundering / know your client (AML/KYC) procedures for digital assets.

The Bill also seeks to address a wide range of practical issues, from the fundamental (such as defining industry terms and categorizing cryptoassets) to the more nuanced (such as establishing standards for transaction reporting and consumer protection and advisories).

A new Executive Order could help open the door for the portability of consumer financial data.

By Charles Weinstein and Deric Behar

Definitive regulation for open banking may be on the horizon in the US. On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (the Order), which contains a section on banking and consumer finance that encourages the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue rules on consumer financial data portability.

The Order’s request to the CFPB could help foster competition and reduce market concentration among banking institutions by simplifying personal data portability for consumers and making open banking functionality more readily available.

MAS confirms regulatory approach for derivative contracts on payment tokens.

By Farhana Sharmeen and Marc Jia Renn Tan

On 15 May 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the MAS) issued its response to feedback about its proposed regulatory approach for derivative contracts that reference payment tokens as underlying assets (Payment Token Derivatives), confirming that it will regulate Payment Token Derivatives offered to Singapore investors through approved exchanges. (See MAS’ current list of approved exchanges.) The MAS considers it crucial that it has effective oversight of products offered on approved exchanges due to the systemic importance of such trading facilities and the risk of contagion to the wider financial system.