RiskTech Forum

BIS Published Statement on Crypto-assets

Posted: 14 March 2019  |  Source: BISAM


The past few years have seen a growth in crypto-assets. While the crypto-asset market remains small relative to that of the global financial system, and banks currently have very limited direct exposures, the Committee is of the view that the continued growth of crypto-asset trading platforms and new financial products related to crypto-assets has the potential to raise financial stability concerns and increase risks faced by banks.

While crypto-assets are at times referred to as "crypto-currencies", the Committee is of the view that such assets do not reliably provide the standard functions of money and are unsafe to rely on as a medium of exchange or store of value. Crypto-assets are not legal tender, and are not backed by any government or public authority.1 Through this newsletter, the Basel Committee is setting out its prudential expectations related to banks' exposures to crypto-assets and related services, for those jurisdictions that do not prohibit such exposures and services.

Crypto-assets have exhibited a high degree of volatility and are considered an immature asset class given the lack of standardisation and constant evolution. They present a number of risks for banks, including liquidity risk; credit risk; market risk; operational risk (including fraud and cyber risks); money laundering and terrorist financing risk; and legal and reputation risks. Accordingly, the Committee expects that if a bank is authorised and decides to acquire crypto-asset exposures or provide related services, the following should be adopted at a minimum:

The Committee continues to monitor developments in crypto-assets, including banks' direct and indirect exposures to such assets. The Committee will in due course clarify the prudential treatment of such exposures to appropriately reflect the high degree of risk of crypto-assets. It is coordinating its work with other global standard setting bodies and the Financial Stability Board.

1 Crypto-assets differ from central bank digital currencies. See the report by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and the Markets Committee, available here.