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ECB extends oversight of electronic payments to digital wallets and crypto-assets

ECB extends oversight of electronic payments to digital wallets and crypto-assets

The European Central Bank has approved a new oversight framework for electronic payments which will include coverage of stablecoins and other crypto-assets.

The new supervisory framework assesses security and efficiency of electronic payments, and will be applied by the ECB to oversee companies enabling or supporting the use of payment cards, credit transfers, direct debits, e-money transfers and digital payment tokens, including electronic wallets.

The framework will also cover crypto-asset-related services, such as the acceptance of crypto-assets by merchants within a card payment scheme and the option to send, receive or pay with crypto-assets via an electronic wallet.

“The retail payments ecosystem is evolving fast owing to innovation and technological change. This calls for a forward-looking approach in overseeing digital payment solutions,” says ECB Executive Board member Fabio Panetta. “The PISA framework will include digital payment tokens such as stablecoins, alongside traditional payment instruments and schemes we have gained experience in over the years. Internationally coordinated action will also have to be stepped up to cope with the challenges posed by global digital payment solutions and stablecoins.”

He says the new approach complements forthcoming EU regulations on crypto-assets (including stablecoins) and international standards for global stablecoins.

Companies already under the ECB's regulatory ambit will be expected to adhere to the new rules by November 2022. Other companies will have a grace period of one year from the moment they are notified that they will be subject to oversight under the new rules.

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