Following last week’s G20 meeting of member states in Buenos Aires and the declaration that cryptocurrencies need to be “examined”, this revelation was greeted with some media skepticism.
Marc Hochstein, the managing editor of Coindesk, clearly views such statements as simply demonstrating the protracted nature of any decisions proposed by the member states, suggesting their actions amounted to yet another delaying tactic. “Let’s form a committee to explore the formation of an exploratory committee,” he mused.
The G20 did agree that an examination was needed but before this could happen more information about digital currencies and their place in the world was needed before any regulations could be proposed. Notable is the fact that members cannot set policy for sovereign nations, being limited only to making recommendations. A further hurdle to any serious discussions regarding cryptocurrencies is the fact that some of the more outspoken proponents of blockchain technology are not members of the G20 alliance itself.
If a successful global policy to accept blockchain technologies through international cooperation were possible it isn’t helped by the current threat of resurgent nationalism around the globe, argues Hochstein.
John Collins, former head of policy for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, suggests that another hurdle to overcome is the fact that cryptocurrency is inconsistent with nationalistic ideas as it is clearly a system which is not bound by national borders. He cites the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as at least one system which is actually working towards international cooperation. The body, which is responsible for blacklisting non-cooperative counties involved in sanctioning money-laundering, has been cited by the G20 as a possible way of implementing standards as they might apply to cryptocurrency, but at this time FATF standards do not apply to digital currency.
Collins suggests that there are strong business models around the globe such as the USA and Japan, countries which have boosted user confidence in using cryptocurrencies through developing systems which offer “regulatory clarity”.
It remains to see what developments arise after the G20’s deadline for July of this year where leaders propose to examine recommendations on what data is needed.