ECB Says It Plans to Use More On-Chain Data to Monitor Crypto Assets
Titled “Understanding the crypto-asset phenomenon, its risks and measurement issues,” the report reveals that the ECB has already built a system that uses “high-quality” aggregated data available online in its efforts to analyse “the crypto-asset phenomenon” to identify and monitor how the financial technology might affect monetary policy and the risks it potentially poses to market infrastructures, payments and financial stability.
However, using available data in this way has limits to its value. The report explains that this data leaves “gaps and challenges,” such as the exposure of financial institutions to crypto-assets and payment services that use layered protocols.
It lists, among others, derivatives and investment vehicles' exposure to digital assets, financial firms moving into custody and other services, and payments platforms using cryptos as potentially having implications for financial policy and stability.
While currently “contained and/or manageable,” such links with regulated financial firms “may develop and increase over time.”
Going into more detail on these issues of collecting accurate data, the EU banking authority says:
“Specifically, it is hard to retrieve public data on segments of the crypto-asset market that remain off the radar of public authorities; some relatively illiquid trading platforms may be affected by wash trading; and there is no consistency in the methodology and conventions used by institutionalised exchanges and commercial data providers. Moreover, new and unexpected data needs may well arise with further advancements in crypto-assets and related innovation.”
Going forward, the ECB plans to go into more granular detail for its analyses of crypto assets, and “will continue to work on indicators and data by dealing with the complexity and growing challenges encountered in analysing on-chain and layered protocol transactions.”
It will further seek new data sources for information on links between crypto assets and regulated firms.
Regarding off-chain transactions – transactions conducted off the blockchain and later aggregated back on-chain in fewer transactions – the ECB said it will work on increasing the “availability and transparency” of reported data and the methods used to provide it, “harmonising and enriching the metadata and developing best practices for indicators on crypto-assets.”