World Economic Forum Paves Way for Global Crypto-Asset Regulation

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a white paper titled “Pathways to the Regulation of Crypto-Assets: A Global Approach,” advocating for a collaborative approach towards crypto regulation on a global scale.

The white paper highlights the unique challenges and necessary considerations regarding the regulation of crypto-assets. Considering the borderless, open-source, decentralized nature of these digital currencies, their regulation requires a delicate balance between preventing harm, protecting users, and promoting innovation.

The WEF acknowledges significant progress made so far, especially through the involvement of numerous international organizations like FSB, IMF, BIS, OECD, IOSCO, and national regulators such as the EU, Singapore, Japan, the UAE, India, South Africa, the US, among others. However, many pertinent questions remain under discussion, including how to define and classify crypto-assets, adapting to a rapidly evolving ecosystem, and maintaining effective regulatory oversight.

The white paper outlines several challenges in implementing a global regulatory approach, including lack of harmonized classifications, regulatory arbitrage, and fragmented monitoring. The WEF suggests these hurdles can be overcome through collaboration among policymakers, regulators, and industry.

The report analyses the wide spectrum of regulatory approaches adopted by different jurisdictions such as principle-based, risk-based, agile regulation, self and co-regulation, and regulation by enforcement. A broad and global view of the topic was ensured by consulting diverse stakeholders of the Digital Currency Governance Consortium (DCGC) while evolving recommendations.

The white paper concludes that a global approach to regulating crypto-assets is ideal, urging international organizations, national/regional authorities, and industry stakeholders to consider its findings in developing a coordinated approach to crypto-asset regulation. It also emphasizes the need for academia, civil society, and users’ involvement in evolving a responsible ecosystem.

In conclusion, the WEF white paper outlines an urgent need for stakeholders worldwide to collaborate in formulating comprehensive crypto-asset regulations. As the crypto-asset ecosystem continues to evolve, this paper will serve as an important guidepost for shaping the future of digital currency governance.

To delve deeper into blockchain and crypto, please read our exclusive interview with Nadia Hewett, the blockchain project lead of the World Economic Forum, whose insights on these matters offer invaluable context and clarity on the path forward in this complex, rapidly-evolving sector.


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WEF Promotes Eco-Friendly Crypto Mining Firm Crusoe Energy

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently shared a video promoting the efforts of Crusoe Energy Systems, a Colorado-based cryptocurrency mining firm that has been recognized for its eco-friendly practices. The video focuses on Crusoe’s innovative approach to reducing flaring, a process where large amounts of gas are wasted during oil production or from decomposition.

In the video, Chase Lochmiller, CEO and co-founder of Crusoe, explained that the company builds and operates modular data centers that are co-located with waste energy sources to use wasted methane streams to generate power. This enables the production of ultra-low-cost computing infrastructure by utilizing stranded energy sources that would otherwise go unused.

Despite the prominent imagery of what appears to be cryptocurrency mining facilities presented throughout the video, it never directly addresses what is actually happening. However, several crypto industry figures, including MicroStrategy co-founder Michael Saylor, praised Crusoe’s efforts and recognized the environmental benefits of their approach to mining.

Kristine Cranley, a director at the advocacy group the Texas Blockchain Council, pointed out in a tweet that the video didn’t once mention “the b word”: Bitcoin. However, it’s worth noting that Crusoe Energy Systems did expand its Bitcoin mining assets through the acquisition of Great American Mining (GAM) in October 2022, adding over 10 megawatts to its mining output, along with approximately 4,000 application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) crypto-mining rigs.

Crusoe Energy Systems’ innovative approach to cryptocurrency mining has not gone unnoticed, as they recently partnered with the government of Oman in June 2022. Oman exports 21% of its gas production and seeks zero gas flaring by 2030. Crusoe will open an office in Oman’s capital city of Muscat and install its equipment for capturing gas waste at well sites to use as computing power for crypto mining.

It’s worth noting that the WEF has previously expressed concerns about the environmental impact of Bitcoin’s current consensus mechanism and has advocated for changing its code to proof-of-stake. Some users have suggested that the WEF’s failure to directly mention cryptocurrency mining in the video is due to their previous stance on the issue.

Despite the lack of direct mention of cryptocurrency mining in the WEF video, Crusoe Energy Systems’ approach to mining is an excellent example of how technology can be utilized to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices. Their innovative use of waste energy sources to power their mining facilities is not only beneficial for the environment but also serves as a reminder that the crypto industry can play a significant role in promoting eco-friendly practices.


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A Colombian court recently hosted its first legal trial in the metaverse

An article that was published not too long ago states that a judge working in a court in Colombia recently presided over the first legal hearing that was conducted in the metaverse. According to the court, the proceedings seemed “more authentic than a video conversation.”

According to a report that was made public by Reuters on the 24th of February, on the 15th of February, the Magdalena Administrative Court of Colombia held a court case in the metaverse, which comprised participants involved in a traffic dispute.

The complaint that was launched against the police lasted for two hours, was brought forward by a regional transport union, and will “partially” continue in the metaverse. It is not out of the question that the verdict will also be arrived at in the metaverse.

A virtual courtroom was occupied by the avatars of the participants, and the magistrate, Maria Quinones Triana, wore black robes that were suitable for the proceedings.

It has been said that Columbia is one of the first countries in the world to experiment with having judicial proceedings take place in the metaverse. According to a remark that Reuters obtained from Quinones, he described the encounter as feeling “more authentic than a video conversation.”

This comes as a result of a recent study that was carried out and published by CoinWire on January 16th, which indicated that 69% of respondents think that the metaverse will ultimately affect social behaviors as a result of new ways used for leisure and activities. This comes as a result of the fact that 69% of respondents think that the metaverse will ultimately affect social behaviors as a result of new ways used for leisure and activities.

If this is taken into account, then, in Hackl’s opinion, “how we socialize will be deeply impacted by the metaverse.”

Experiences in the metaverse were available for guests to partake in at the World Economic Forum that took place in January of this year. Participants at the conference were offered the chance to take part in the “Global Collaboration Village,” which was the name given to the forum’s very own 3D immersive digital sessions. These sessions were available to them throughout the conference.


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WEF Launches Coalition to Deal with Climate Change through Web3.0

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has established a Crypto Sustainability Coalition to investigate the capability of Web3 in tackling climate change.

In a statement, the WEF noted that blockchain tools would propel transparency in the worldwide carbon credits market, whereas crypto mining would trigger renewable microgrids through off-peak demand and decentralization.

Since the adoption of technologies like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchains, and cryptocurrencies in Web 3.0, members of the coalition will find out how they can boost social and environmental agendas.

The coalition also seeks regulatory clarity that enhances Web3 innovation, propels financial inclusion, and protects consumers.

Brynly Llyr, World Economic Forum’s head of blockchain and digital assets, noted:

“I am excited about the work we are expecting from the Crypto Sustainability Coalition. An important and unique aspect of web3 is that it uses technology to support and reward direct community engagement and action.”

Llyr added:

“This means we can coordinate the work of many individuals directly with one another, enabling collective action without centralized control – a powerful accelerator for grass roots action.”

The Crypto Sustainability Coalition consist of 30 partners hosted by the WEF as a public-private initiative. Its primary areas of concern include Web3’s potential for climate action, energy usage, and “on-chain” carbon credits. 

Some partners include Solana, Circle, NEAR Foundation, PlanetWatch, University of Lisbon, eToro, Crypto Council for Innovation, and Sustainable Bitcoin Standard. 

Moreover, the coalition will come up with best practices and tangible action on how Web3 technologies can positively impact communities most affected by climate change. The report noted:

“The coalition’s wider aim is to foster a broad education campaign on what Web3’s potential and capacity look like, to better inform governments on how they regulate these technologies and incentivize investment and research into their development.”

Meanwhile, a report by Chainlink Labs and Tecnalia noted that blockchain technology could help fight the climate crisis through smart contracts, Blockchain.News reported. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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Sheila Warren, Former World Economic Forum Exec, Tapped as Crypto Council for Innovation’s New CEO

Key Takeaways

  • A former executive at the World Economic Forum, Sheila Warren, will become the new CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation.
  • The group seeks to lobby for and improve the regulatory climate for digital assets.
  • Attention from regulators, lawmakers has been ramping up in recent months.

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Sheila Warren, a former executive at the World Economic Forum, has been tapped to join the Crypto Council for Innovation as its CEO. The crypto lobby group hopes to shape crypto policy in the United States.

Warren Set to Lead Council

The blockchain and Web3 space has faced growing attention from lawmakers in the U.S. recently, and so crypto lobbying efforts like the Crypto Council for Innovation seem increasingly warranted. 

A past executive of the World Economic Forum, Sheila Warren, will join the crypto lobbying group Crypto Council for Innovation as its CEO starting on Feb. 2. In addition to her role on the executive committee, she also worked as the World Economic Forum’s head of data, blockchain, and digital assets.

The Crypto Council for Innovation was founded in April of last year, and its prominent member organizations include Fidelity, Coinbase, Block, and venture capital firms Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz. 

Warren called the present moment “critical” for the crypto ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of the next two years for the digital assets space.

The World Economic Forum is a non-profit foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland that was founded in 1971. It bills itself as the “International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation” and asserts that organizations should consider all stakeholders from all parts of society. 

Warren saw last year’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which had tax language potentially problematic to the crypto space, as a “massive wake up call to a lot of people.” She also highlighted the importance of the Biden administration’s coming executive order forcing government bodies to propose crypto regulation. 

Additionally, the SEC proposed last week an expansion of its definition of “securities,” which could negatively impact decentralized finance exchanges. Concerns were also raised last week about a provision to the America COMPETES Act that could give the Treasury power to wantonly prohibit transactions, possibly including crypto transactions. Last December, Senators scrutinized stablecoins and this month, Congress held a hearing examining the environmental impact of crypto mining. Finally, the Federal Reserve released its report on central bank digital currencies on Jan. 20.

Many bodies have been getting involved in oversight of the industry, and so crypto lobbying groups like the Crypto Council for Innovation, as well as the political action committee dubbed the GMI PAC that was announced last Friday, which seeks to fund candidates in the coming November midterm elections to the tune of $20 million, are increasingly relevant. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other cryptocurrencies.

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WEF’s blockchain head will lead the Crypto Council for Innovation

Sheila Warren, the head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at the World Economic Forum, will be assuming the position of chief executive officer of the Crypto Council for Innovation, or CCI, starting in February.

In a Monday announcement, the CCI said that beginning on Feb. 2, Warren would lead the alliance of crypto-friendly firms aimed at supporting lawmakers on crypto and blockchain regulation. CCI board member and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam cited the WEF executive’s “in-depth knowledge of crypto” in addition to her experience working with governments across the globe.

“The crypto ecosystem is poised to deliver large-scale economic growth, empower communities, and improve lives all over the world,” said Warren. “I am excited to drive CCI’s mission of realizing the transformative potential of crypto through education and advocacy for a responsible, forward-thinking global policy environment that will ensure that crypto’s benefits are accessible to all people, regardless of their current economic privilege.”

Formed in April 2021, the CCI includes supporters like Coinbase, Fidelity Digital Assets, Paradigm, Ribbit Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Block — formerly Square. In July, the group hosted a virtual event called “The ₿ Word” exploring how institutions could potentially adopt Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology. 

As one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase seems to have stepped up its efforts to lobby lawmakers in the United States around “sensible regulation.” However, Ripple Labs led an expensive campaign around the Securities and Exchange Commission’s treatment of XRP tokens as securities, spending $690,000 on lobbying in 2020 without any concrete results in this area.

Related: 6 Questions for Sheila Warren of the World Economic Forum

During her time at the WEF, Warren explored central bank digital currencies and promoted the adoption of blockchain technology. She has spoken at a number of events in the crypto space including the Hyperledger Global Forum and Unitize conferences, and previously written for Cointelegraph on the importance of crypto as an educational tool for empowering diversity and financial inclusion.