On Wednesday (31 October 2018), Global Digital Finance (GDF), a not-for-profit industry body with the aim of “driving acceleration and adoption of digital finance”, announced several leaders in the cryptoasset space (including Circle and Coinbase), as its founding members, and released its Taxonomy for Cryptographic Assets, as well as its industry-led Code of Conduct.

GDF, which was co-founded by Lawrence Wintermeyer, Simon Taylor, and Jeff Bandman, launched in London on 19 March 2018. Here is how it announced the news on Twitter yesterday:

The seven Founding Members of GDF are Goldman-backed FinTech startup Circle Internet Financial (“Circle”); crypto exchange Coinbase; blockchain-focused venture production studio ConsenSys; blockchain solutions consultancy Diginex; enterprise blockchain software company R3; multinational law firm DLA Piper; and international law firm Hogan Lovells. This group will support GDF in “developing its global strategy and growing a community membership of firms who wish to adhere to the Code of Conduct.”

GDF’s “Code of Conduct”, which was approved following a series of mini-summit events held in Asia, Europe, and the USA, was created out of “contributions from more than 200 firms in the global crypto asset community” and over 100 feedback submissions from individuals and organizations. GDF says that it is the starting point for an industry-led “shared rulebook”, which will allow companies to demonstrate that they “abide by ethical and professional standards in their conduct with clients, money handling, risk management, and market practice.”

GDF’s Code of Conduct has three parts: 

Here are the comments from two of the GDF co-founders as well as representatives from some of the Founding Members of GDF:

Simon Taylor, GDF Co-Founder:

“Customers want to know the firms they are doing business with are ethical and not breaking (international) laws. This extends from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, wallet providers and exchanges, to firms offering investment products in tokens, securities, and funds.”

Jeff Bandman, GDF Co-Founder:

“Regulators have been hugely supportive of the development of GDF and the Code. Digital assets are global and no one jurisdiction has authority over the entire sector. The Code provides industry adopters a supranational toolbox to demonstrate to global regulators that they are good citizens.”

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle:

“Building public trust is essential to Circle and to democratizing finance using crypto assets and blockchain technology. We are proud to be joining an organization that is helping ensure the industry upholds the high standards the public deserves.”

Zeeshan Feroz, UK CEO of Coinbase:

“Individuals need to be able to distinguish crypto businesses that are trying to facilitate the safe transfer of digital assets, with a compliance – first approach, from those that may be pushing the boundaries of what may be considered legal in other areas. By adhering to the Code of Conduct, firms are making it clear to their customers that they take safety and security seriously.”

Todd McDonald, R3 Co-Founder:

“We believe the Code is of vital importance to firms wishing to demonstrate to regulators they are adopting professional practices. The questionable practices by some in the industry should not hinder the access to cryptoassets offered in a transparent and responsible manner that customers and markets can fully trust.”

Patrick Berarducci, ConsenSys Legal & The Brooklyn Project:

“The quality of the work the GDF team has produced in partnership with a large community of industry practitioners in 6 months is nothing short of outstanding, and includes a delivery pipeline which will continue to address additional participants within the space, such as funds and custodians.”

John Salmon, Partner & Global Lead of Blockchain Practice, Hogan Lovells:

“Having been involved since the inception of GDF, we were very keen to help baseline a taxonomy and subsequent code of conduct, with the guidance of existing legal and regulatory structures. It has been incredibly positive to see the industry come together with regulators and policy makers to achieve something significant in a relatively short space of time.”

Martin Bartlam, International Group Head of Finance and Global FinTech Co-Chair at DLA Piper:

“Considering the cross-border nature of crypto assets, establishing a global standard of conduct for the crypto asset industry to commit to is a proactive way for member participants to demonstrate accountability and protection for investors. The Code provides a standard that fits within existing laws and regulations amidst potentially conflicting laws and regulations on a country by country basis.”

Companies can register with GDF to confirm their willingness to abide by GDF’s Code of Conduct from Q1 2019. 

Featured Image Courtesy of Global Digital Finance