Central banker conference to examine 'safe DeFi' and CBDCs next week

A group of central bank officials is set to discuss decentralized finance and CBDCs during a virtual event on Monday. 

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) will livestream a conference from Zurich called "Does Safe DeFi Require CBDCs?" The event will examine how DeFi markets may evolve and what roles central banks and Central Bank Digital Currencies may play in creating a secure environment.

The Basel, Switzerland-based BIS, which is owned by central banks, will host seminars explaining DeFi, recent developments and projections for the future, stablecoins as settlement assets, and the possible use of CBDCs or a stablecoin/CBDC hybrid model.

Scheduled speakers include Agustín Carstens, general manager of the BIS, and Thomas Jordan, chair of the Swiss National Bank's governing board.

The event will also feature representatives from the crypto world. These include Centre CEO David Puth, Polygon head of DeFi research Chaudhary, and Crypto Valley Association board member Ekaterina Anthony, among others. 

The BIS gathering comes as numerous aspects of the crypto industry, including DeFi, draw scrutiny from global regulators, including central bankers. 

Indeed, the BIS issued a critique of DeFi in December, calling for greater safeguards to mitigate stability risks. The organization argued that there is a "decentralisation illusion" within the ecosystem. 

The Block reported last week that John Williams, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, emphasized that the US needs a strong regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies. 

"We need a really effective regulatory structure around cryptocurrencies in general, and stablecoin[s]," Williams said. "I do think there’s going to be an enormous amount of innovation going on in the financial system."

This week, lawmakers in Europe advanced legislation that, if ultimately approved, will tighten rules for crypto service providers regarding the identification of outside parties with which they transact, namely so-called unhosted wallets.