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Cryptocurrency rules a 'matter of urgency', Bank of England's Cunliffe says

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LONDON (Reuters) -Regulators need to work quickly to put in place a set of rules for cryptocurrencies, given the sector's rapid growth and the time it takes to agree on new standards, Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Wednesday.

"Regulators internationally and in many jurisdictions have begun the work. It needs to be pursued as a matter of urgency," Cunliffe said in a speech to the SIBOS conference.

Last week, global regulators proposed that the safeguards they apply to systemic clearing houses and payment systems should also be applied to stablecoins, a type of cryptocurrency typically backed by an asset or fiat currency.

Cunliffe, who helped to lead the work on the safeguards, said it took two years to draft this measure, during which stablecoins have grown 16-fold.

Risks to financial stability from the application of crypto technologies are currently limited, but there are a number of "very good reasons" to think that this might not be the case for very much longer, Cunliffe said.

"Indeed, bringing the crypto world effectively within the regulatory perimeter will help ensure that the potentially very large benefits of the application of this technology to finance can flourish in a sustainable way," he added.

Reporting by Huw JonesEditing by David Goodman and Gareth Jones

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