Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Part I of this article explores the current Indian regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry and recommendations for AML/CFT compliance in respect of virtual asssets.

Indian legal framework

The virtual asset industry has had a somewhat difficult time in India, with the RBI banning any regulated entities from providing services to any individual or business, dealing in digital currencies, given the risks involved in such transactions. The term ‘services’ included maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges, dealing with them and transferring or receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs or facilitating the same thereof.
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part II

Into the Web - AML Risks of Virtual Assets - Part 1

Nothing is permanent but change.

                                                                            – Heraclitus

Part I of this article explores the anti-money laundering risks associated with virtual assets and provides a glance at the current international regulatory and legal framework governing the virtual asset industry.

Technology has evolved to a point where we have to redefine what we assume would be easy to legally categorise. The evolution of virtual assets is such an example — with a dynamic categorisation of virtual assets, as also securities such as NFTs (a Non-Fungible Token, which is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. Examples include: photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files) and DeFi (Decentralised Finance is a blockchain-based form of finance that does not rely on central financial intermediaries such as brokerages, exchanges, or banks to offer traditional financial instruments, and instead utilises smart contracts on blockchains, example: Ethereum).
Continue Reading Into the Web: AML Risks of Virtual Assets? – Part I

SEBI’s Framework for Innovation Sandbox - Fintech

Amidst the fast-paced growth of the fintech industry in India, financial regulators in the country have been swift to recognise each such development and keep pace with the market. One particularly interesting development is the global adoption of regulatory sandboxes.

From 2016, a range of committees constituted by different financial regulators began to advocate adoption of regulatory sandboxes, drawing from success stories in other jurisdictions.[1] But 2019 marks a significant moment, as three of India’s prominent financial regulators have rolled-out either draft or final frameworks on regulatory sandboxes for fintech.[2]

The frameworks seek to spur fintech innovation in India and have been welcomed by all stakeholders alike. The framework released by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) adopts a particularly holistic approach towards regulation of many different aspects of a sandbox. In this post, we seek to critique the ‘Framework for Innovation Sandbox’, released by SEBI on May 20, 2019 (Sandbox Framework).
Continue Reading Innovation in the Sands of Time: A Critique of SEBI’s Framework for Innovation Sandbox

RBI’s Fintech Sandbox Proposal Startups

Technological innovation in the financial space, popularly known as ‘fintech’, has been at the forefront of regulatory thinking in recent times and is widely considered to be the panacea to the thorny issues of financial inclusion and ease of access to financial products/solutions, etc.

In 2018, the inter-regulatory Working Group (WG) set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to review the granular aspects of fintech and its implications, released a report being the ‘Report of the Working Group on FinTech and Digital banking’. One of the WG’s key recommendations was the introduction of an appropriate framework for the creation of a regulatory sandbox (RS) where the RBI could provide the requisite regulatory guidance to test products in a controlled environment.
Continue Reading Learning by Doing? The RBI’s Fintech Sandbox Proposal