The BIS Urges the Regulation of DeFi Networks

By Aleksandra Wilson
4 min read December 28, 2021

Established in 1930, the BIS, or Bank for International Settlements for short, is a group of central banks. The main goal of the BIS is to help central banks accomplish and maintain financial and monetary stability through inter cooperation. Another important task of the BIS is to serve as a bank for various central banks.

The Bank for International Settlements is owned by 63 central banks that represent nations worldwide. Altogether, those countries account for around 95% of the world’s GDP. The headquarters are located in Basel, Switzerland. Also, it has two representative offices, one in Mexico City and the other one in Hong Kong SAR. Plus, the BIS has Innovation Hub Centres around the globe.

By analyzing banking services, they keep innovating their processes to pursue financial and monetary stability. Although, the concerns keep increasing about networks that offer DeFi services that might not be as “decentralized” as they claim. Since the DeFi sector is rapidly growing and many new investors are joining this trend, the BIS urges the regulation of DeFi networks. 

The institution set a medium-term strategy called Innovation BIS 2025, aiming to leverage tech. The plan seeks to create new collaboration channels for the central banking community in these fast-changing times. 

The Reason Why the BIS Urges the Regulation of DeFi Platforms

There’s a growing concern about DeFi platforms, the way they operate and advertise their products, but mainly the lack of regulation. They stated their preoccupation about DeFi being a “decentralization illusion” at the beginning of December. Decentralized finance is a fast-growing sector of the crypto economy. This particular sector promises to provide classic financial products such as savings accounts and loans without intermediaries such as banks.

However, the main worry is that platforms may offer DeFi services or products that might not be as decentralized as they claim. The BIS urges the regulation of DeFi networks as they hope this will help stabilize the new economy. 

The general manager of the BIS, Agustín Carstens, stated that they found that DeFi tends to be elusive. He also mentioned that there are some issues related to the fact that at some point, some agents playing a critical role might not be in it for the best interest of their users. The BIS urges the regulation of DeFi services so investors can be safe, which eventually could boost trust in the market.

What is the Response of the DeFi Sector?

The co-founder of Swarm Markets, Timo Lehes, stated that there are areas of opportunity to improve. However, he mentioned that many institutions in the crypto space are already working to fix the issues pointed out by the BIS. 

Lehes said that even though the BIS urges the regulation of DeFi ultimately, each protocol will decide whether or not to transition to a compliant business model. DeFi could gain from operating within the framework that focuses on protecting investors while maintaining open access to the markets.

What Is at Stake?

Many decentralized finance services work on top of Ethereum, which token’s Ether, one of the biggest crypto coins. The transactions are facilitated by smart contracts that automate processes through code lines. Currently, over $100 billion worth of funds sits on Ethereum-based decentralized finance protocols. Curve, Maker, and Compound are a few of the biggest platforms. 

The Bank for International Settlements believes the risks surrounding DeFi have been contained to crypto markets. Although, their concern is that if it goes forward, the growth of DeFi might be a threat to financial stability.

Conclusions

It’s well known that DeFi platforms are luring new investors with the promise of big returns on their savings and loans. But one should keep in mind that there has been an increase in the number of fraudsters and hackers taking advantage. In 2021 there was a loss of over $10 billion in DeFi thefts and scams. 

The BIS flagged “severe” vulnerabilities within the sector, including highly-leveraged trades, lack of shock absorbers, and liquidity issues. Although it’s not all bad, there may be safe aspects, but there are others that may not. DeFi, although it might be on its way to regulation, still has a long way to go. Meanwhile, all of these pros and cons should make us seriously think about it.

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