The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Commerce Department has proposed a rule change to a benchmark survey that would require all U.S. financial services companies to report if they carried out cross-border crypto-currency transactions in fiscal year 2019.
In addition to wider rule changes to the “BE-180 Benchmark Survey of Financial Services Transactions between U.S. Financial Services Providers and Foreign Persons” – a five-year mandatory BEA questionnaire – the crypto proposal would give statisticians in the Commerce Department a more accurate look at the prevalence of foreign cryptographic activity if implemented.
The Survey Will Be Posed To Most Financial Firms
The survey will be posed to brokerages, private equity funds, custody services, financial advisories and the many others included in BEA’s sweeping definition of ‘ financial services. ‘ BEA estimates that 7,000 respondents will respond.
“BEA will add a single question asking respondents to identify, of their 2019 cross-border financial services reported in the required transaction categories, any that were related to cryptocurrency activities,” the rule change read in part.
However, that question will not gather individual transaction information, said Chief Christopher Stein, of the BEA Services and Surveys Branch. A brokerage that facilitates cross-border crypto-asset trading would merely indicate that it has done so, leaving out more granular details such as transaction amount.
“We are not collecting data related to the physical currency asset,” Stein said. “We are not collecting separate dollar amounts related to these services, we’re just emphasizing that, for example, a facilitating-type brokerage fee associated with the currency transaction is within the scope of the survey.”
When BE-180 was last held in 2015, there was no mention of cryptocurrency transactions in the survey but Stein said that they were still included within the scope of the survey. The proposed definition amounts to a red tape as cryptocurrency develops.
“It’s a new and evolving area in the financial services market, and the benchmark is an opportunity to ask more information and clarify survey requirements,” he said.
The proposal package said the rule changes will “allow BEA to more closely align its statistics with international guidelines.” Its data will be used to “monitor” U.S. and international financial services, promote trade and help “U.S. businesses to identify and evaluate market opportunities,” the package proposal said.
The comment period runs through April 27, 2020, according to the proposal.