Agreeing a common global taxonomy to define crypto will be a crucial  in bringing digital assets further into the mainstream of global finance, delegates to the FinTech Connect London conference heard.

While the European Union may be leading the way in regulating digital assets through MiCA, the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation that entered into force in June 2023, further and deeper adoption of digital assets across the spectrum of financial services, particularly for consumers, will remain problematic, according to comments from a panel at the event.

Taking part in the discussion were Laurent Marochini, head of Innovation, Société Générale Securities Service, Keith Bear, fellow, Centre for Alternative Finance, Cambridge Judge Business School, Anna Tutova, CEO, Coinstelegram, Rita Martins, FS executive, board member and Author, and moderator Anette Brolos, director and founder, Finthropology.

Bear noted that there is "no consistency in defining taxonomy around crypto".

Martins agreed, stating that "crypto might mean bitcoin to one person, but to those in defi [decentralized finance] it could mean the industry."

"For example, in Argentina it simply means a store of value," given current financial challenges gripping that jurisdiction. Geography and types of companies impact definitions in the sector, she highlighted.

Marochini put forward a similar view on the challenge of agreeing definitions.

"A banana is a banana, an apple is an apple. So, a taxonomy and consistent definition are important," he said.

Europe's adoption of MiCA is among the factors that made him feel that the industry is closer to adoption of relevant regulations in the Europe, and that that adoption is being supported by larger asset managers such as JPMorgan or BlackRock.

Martins added that the lack of clarity is acting as a barrier. "Until the regulatory situation clears, banks won't introduce more [related services]," she said.

MiCA provides clarity. Other places such as Singapore also have regulations. The problem is that different banks in different justifications can offer into those specific jurisdictions, but therefore find it difficult to offer a global product that can be distributed everywhere.

That said, she added that banks are likely working internally to understand opportunities as and when regulation comes to fruition.


Picking up on where the focus of crypto developments are occurring, Marochini outlined that from his perspective the focus is firstly in Europe. Looking to the UK, US or Asia takes a lot of effort, and Europe is easier for his firm currently.

Bear highlighted influencing factors on where developments are likely to take place first. He point to stablecoin entering the system, and central bank digital currency, CBDC, in the UK and elsewhere leading to the questions such as "how easy this will be to introduce and take share of merchant payments and their systems."

Martins followed that up by noting that the past decade has been very much about testing systems and solutions.

"Now organisations are looking to make those scalable," she noted.

"For example, what does a UK stablecoin mean in terms of scaling up offerings? It is not just about talking about blockchain, it is about discussion about different types of money."

"How do legacy systems and new systems work across countries? It may take another decade to achieve. Trust is critical."

Tutova highlighted easy of use as a key barrier that forms part of the discussion around a common taxonomy. Adoption of crypto solutions need to be easier for people who cannot remember a 24 character digital wallet password. Social network-linked passwords may help, but digital identities are important for mass adoption of solutions being discussed in the industry, she argued.

2024 and beyond

Marochini noted that 2024 would be the year of regulation in Europe. And he sees blockchain driving adoption over the next five years in Europe.

Bear points to tests in the coming year of things such as whether banks can tokenise payments, and how CBDC can drive adoption of other forms of digital. He suggested the situation in the US is different to that in Europe, as the regulations demand more permissioned/private blockchains. This in turn raises questions on interoperability.

Martins ventured that public blockchains will look different in future, with a mix of uses depending on end user requirements, "but with an interoperability layer on top".