Swiss Regulator: Cryptoasset Risk Coverage to Be Estimated At 800% Of Market Value

  • Switzerland's financial regulator, FINMA, has instructed local financial institutions to estimate risk coverage for cryptoassets at 800% of their market value.
  • FINMA considers cryptoassets to be a highly volatile and risky asset class.

Switzerland’s financial regulator, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), has  reportedly recommended that cryptoassets should be “assigned a flat risk weight of 800% to cover market and credit risks.”

FINMA also advised local banks and other financial institutions to estimate risk coverage for all digital assets at 800% - “regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book.”

The high risk coverage for cryptoassets indicates that FINMA considers them to be highly volatile, and classifies their trading “at the same level as hedge fund activity.”

"Increasing Number Of Enquiries" From Cryptoasset Holders

Although the Swiss financial regulator acknowledges that cryptocurrency prices have stabilized in the last few months - with bitcoin’s (BTC) volatility index being at its lowest since December 2016, it still thinks that the “spectre of volatility stills hangs over the asset class.”

According to a confidential letter FINMA recently sent to EXPERTSuisse (an association for Switzerland’s accountants and trustees), the Swiss regulator has “received an increasing number of enquiries from banks and securities dealers holding positions in cryptoassets.”

In response, FINMA said that anyone who owns cryptoassets is “subject to capital adequacy requirements, risk distribution regulations and regulations for the calculation of short-term liquidity ratios.”

Must "Assume Value Of $50,000" Per Bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading at around $6,400 according to data from CryptoCompare, however, a financial institution has to “assume a value of around $50,000” per bitcoin when determining the “risk-weighted” value of the cryptocurrency.

Because of this, banks and other financial service organizations must “put aside a larger chunk of capital to cover potential losses of cryptocurrency positions than most other assets,” local news outlet, SwissInfo.ch explained.

FINMA has also instructed Swiss financial institutions to limit their digital currency trading activity to 4% of their total capital. When this limit has been reached, the institutions must report to the nation’s regulatory authorities.

Positive Feedback From Switzerland Bitcoin Association

Notably, these guidelines are only applicable to cryptoassets that institutions are holding on their balance sheets, and do not apply to customer funds held separately.

Responding to the new crypto regulatory requirements, the Bitcoin Switzerland Association (an “active community” of crypto enthusiasts that aim to increase awareness of digital assets), said: 

It’s encouraging to see banks no longer turning down the increasing number of client requests for crypto services but asking for guidance and providing their input along the way. This is the Swiss financial centre’s first step towards moving into the next decade where assets are no longer held in a single, central custody but instead are held on the blockchain.

Bitcoin Switzerland Association

 

Those Banned From Facebook May Not Be Able to Use Its Cryptocurrency Libra

Facebook’s two days of congressional hearings on the social media giant’s cryptocurrency ambitions seemingly revealed that those who have been banned from Facebook may not have access to Libra.

During the congressional hearing Facebook had to answer some tough questions, and one of them came from Representative Sean Duffy, which asked the company’s cryptocurrency head, David Marcus, who’ll have access to Libra.

The Congressman initially asked Marcus who could use the cryptocurrency, to which Calibra’s CEO answered: “anyone that can open a Calibra account, that can go through KYC [know-your-customer checks] in countries where we can operate.”

Duffy then referenced two individuals banned from Facebook for violating its community guidelines, Louis Farrakhan and Milo Yiannopoulo, and asked whether they’ll be able to use the social media giant’s cryptocurrency.

Marcus ended up replying he doesn’t “know yet,” after seeing Duffy hold a $20 bill and ask hin who can use it. His point was that cash doesn’t discriminate, and that anyone who can hold it can use it.

While throughout the hearing Marcus tried to point out the company will follow appropriate regulations and comply with lawmakers, Duffy responded that a proper answer would be “as long as you abide by the law, you can use Libra.” The fact he didn’t get this answer, Duffy said, gave him “great pause.”

Speaking to The Daily Beast Elka Looks, a Facebook spokeswoman, clarified Marcus addressed the Congressman’s concerns later on in the hearing. She stated:

For Libra, anyone who is engaging in lawful activity will be able to transact on the network. Facebook will have no say. For Calibra, there is no policy in place yet, but we will share it when it is closer to being finalized.

The news outlet adds that Calibra, Facebook’s wallet to send, receive, and hold Libra, doesn’t yet have final terms of service or a privacy policy. All of this means that those who’ve been banned on Facebook may not have access to its cryptocurrency.

As CryptoGlobe covered, Congressman Warren Davidson implied during the hearings Facebook’s crypto is a ‘shitcoin’ as it doesn’t have some of the properties bitcoin has. The Congressman made it clear bitcoin has no central authority that can censor transactions or dilute its value, while Libra has the Libbra Association.