Italy’s top banking authority has called for a “robust, risk-based” regulatory framework for stablecoins, which could help prevent a worst case scenario — a “run” on stablecoins.

The central bank’s recently released Markets, Infrastructures and Payment Systems report for June 2023 has called on regulators to apply the same financial conduct standards to stablecoin issuers in the industry.

The bank said the rise of cryptocurrencies, coupled with several “boom and bust cycles” in a largely unregulated environment has caused “significant consumer harm.”

Regulatory attention on stablecoin issuers in particular should be a priority because of its close connection to DeFi, the bank said:

“A robust, risk-based regulation of stablecoins ensuring the prevention of ‘runs’ on their issuers is a necessary condition to reduce the fragility of the DeFi ecosystem, given the prominent role of this asset class in decentralized finance.”

“It is crucial that policy interventions on stablecoins and DeFi are well synchronized since the diffusion of stablecoins […] is likely to spur new waves of DeFi innovation and increase the interconnection between traditional and decentralized finance,” it added.

The Italian banking authority also noted that stablecoins “have not proved stable at all” — citing the most notable collapse of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin TerraClassicUSD (USTC) in May 2022.

The bank said the industry also needs to debunk “the decentralization illusion” by acknowledging that most decentralized protocols are operated by core stakeholders who can often “extract ownership benefits.”

“Such projects should be brought back to traditional, accountable business structures as a pre-condition for operating in the regulated financial sector,” the bank added.

Related: OpenAI’s ChatGPT reenters Italy after obliging transparency demands

The bank however stressed that it isn’t necessary to subject every crypto asset or activity to financial services regulation:

“Not all crypto activities and not all forms of crypto-assets need to be covered or should be covered by financial sector regulation, in particular where their issuance, trading and holding do not serve customers’ financial needs through a payment or investment function.”

Among the non-financial use cases enabled by blockchain are decentralized identification, real estate, supply chain, voting and carbon credits.

Italy’s central bank has also called for countries to cooperate and establish an international regulatory framework because the technology operates irrespective of nation state borders.

Magazine: Unstablecoins: Depegging, bank runs and other risks loom