In some areas, crypto lending is accepted and recognized as a legal financial instrument, while it is restricted and prohibited in other areas.
Want to learn more? Click here to dive into whether crypto lending could become illegal
Want to learn more? Some countries have chosen to ban crypto lending
Crypto lending has risen in popularity following the adoption of cryptocurrencies worldwide. Individuals, businesses, and even governments see the appeal of crypto assets.
As there are always two sides to a coin, the crypto industry's sentiments are also split. While there are those who favor crypto, skeptics also abound.
The legal nature of crypto assets fuels these opposing views. In some areas, cryptocurrencies are legally accepted as financial instruments. In other areas, they are restricted or prohibited.
Crypto lending is not spared from these negative sentiments and views. This then makes people wonder: is crypto lending legal? And could it become illegal?
To answer this question, knowledge of what makes crypto lending right or wrong is needed. When you understand this, you can decide if crypto lending is legal in your locality.
Federal securities laws determine if crypto lending is permitted or illegal.
Some countries are against cryptocurrencies, and crypto lending is illegal in such places. Other countries view cryptos through the same lens as other financial instruments. In these places, crypto-related services must follow the laws that are already in place for financial assets.
The companies that lend out crypto must follow these financial laws and make their products compatible with them.
For instance, in the U.S., a crypto lending firm might be offering illegal products for some reasons, such as:
Failure to register lending products as securities
In the US, crypto lending products are seen as securities. Those offering crypto lending products via interest-bearing accounts must register with the SEC.
This means lending platforms offering unregistered securities are illegal in the United States. Crypto-lending accounts on such platforms are illegal as well.
Failure to be registered under the Investment Company Act
The Investment Company Act regulates companies that invest in securities. It also regulates companies whose own securities are offered to investors.
Crypto lending firms whose products are deemed securities must comply with this Act.
The Investment Company Act is enforced and regulated by the SEC. By using the Howey and Reves test, they can tell if a company is trying to sell an investment contract.
When the Howey and Reves test is used, the SEC sees a lending product as a security.
This means they treat crypto lending accounts the same way they treat traditional bank accounts. The SEC also works with other securities regulators to enforce these financial laws on crypto platforms.
The charge that the SEC brought against BlockFi (which is no longer in business) is a good example of how it hit these platforms hard. BlockFi's lending product was deemed a security, and they were forced to reach a settlement with the SEC to move forward.
So, that begs the question: Where is crypto lending illegal?
The decentralized finance world also has savings accounts, interest payments, and crypto lending. Crypto lenders have earned yields by lending their crypto through DeFi platforms. These platforms run on protocols where a computer code manages the interest payments.
Since everything is managed by code, it has been difficult for regulators to do their job in this sector.
Gary Gensler, the head of the SEC, said that trading, lending, and DeFi platforms in the US should be the top priorities. This might mean that the SEC might shift further attention to decentralized lending.
The sentiments surrounding crypto are divisive so far, and there have been many on both sides of the fence. Globally, governments, authorities, and regulators are coming to grips with the crypto world.
Some places have fully accepted it and are happy for it to be used, while in other places, like the ones above, its use is subject to regulation.
If you are in a region where crypto and crypto lending aren't tolerated, you might be interested in its future.
Since nothing is permanent, it remains possible that the government and authorities in your region will change their opinion about it. Furthermore, the massive adoption of cryptocurrencies and their technology could influence such a move.
Most countries have not banned crypto lending. Instead, they have opted to either ignore or regulate it. For example, the US and Europe have chosen to regulate crypto. The SEC recently took a harder stance on crypto lending. However, it has not been banned outright. China has chosen to take a harder stance and ban the ownership and use of crypto altogether.
Thinking about the legal implications of using a lending platform is essential. It's also essential to think about the future implications of whatever decision you are looking to make.
Crypto lending firms have a role in making their products and services legal for users. When they register their products, regulators will find no issue with them.
Whether crypto lending becomes legal in all parts of the world remains to be seen. We can be sure that it will be used in more and more countries as more countries see how useful it is.