Global Securities Regulators Diss DeFi

As promised, this report provides an in-depth analysis of IOSCO’s new paper on decentralized finance, one sure to advance the FSB’s efforts to bring DeFi systems under greater regulatory scrutiny due to the findings we here detail.  In the U.S., President Biden’s crypto-focused executive order (see FSM Report CRYPTO26) highlights DeFi’s risk with regard to illicit finance.  IOSCO’s work on this report was headed by the SEC, suggesting rapid U.S. action not only on this concern, but also on many other risks by the Commission, as well as the FSOC and other U.S. agencies.  IOSCO concerns go well beyond those specific to investors and trading platforms, noting, for example, significant risk posed to retail customers in DeFi lending and payment, settlement, and clearing products.  As with the FSB, IOSCO disputes assertions that DeFi is fully decentralized, noting that most of the services delivered via any DLT purporting to be DeFi are analogous to traditional financial products and services (TradFi) other than regulation.  The report also details the off-chain activities that result in significant inter-connectedness with TradFi without appropriate controls over possible contagion or even systemic risk.