Global Cryptoasset Regulatory Landscape Study

Apolline Blandin, Ann Sofie Cloots, Hatim Hussain, Michel Rauchs, Rasheed Saleuddin, Jason Grant Allen, Katherine Cloud, and Bryan Zhang.

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The first global comparative study of cryptoasset regulation by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, conducted with the support of the Nomura Research Institute (NRI), provides crucial insights into the cryptoasset regulatory landscape. The study is based on an in-depth analysis of 23 jurisdictions, and serves as a practical and analytical tool for regulators, market participants, and other stakeholders in the cryptoasset ecosystem.

Highlights from the report

  • The lack of standard terminology for cryptoassets across regulators and jurisdictions hampers a coordinated global regulatory response.
  • The most sophisticated regulatory frameworks are found in countries with a less rigid attitude towards financial regulation and a low level of domestic cryptoasset activity. In contrast, 47 per cent of jurisdictions with a high level of domestic cryptoasset activity have adopted a “retrofitting” approach to regulation – amending existing laws and regulations in order to bring cryptoasset activities under the scope of existing laws.
  • The vast majority of examined jurisdictions (82 per cent) have distinguished cryptoassets that exhibit characteristics of a security from other types of cryptoassets. Consequently, activities dealing with cryptoassets that qualify as a security are automatically brought under the ambit of securities law.
  • Regulators have primarily focused their attention on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and exchange trading – functions that resemble well-understood activities in traditional financial markets. Consequently, other key activities specific to cryptoassets, such as alternative token distribution mechanisms (e.g. airdrop, fork) and the creation of cryptoassets through mining, have been overlooked. This may have significant impact depending on how the cryptoasset market develops.

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