antitrust charter

Virtual Currencies Working Group
Antitrust Charter and Compliance Statement

  • Introduction

    This Antitrust Charter and Compliance Statement (the Statement) is a declaration by the Blockchain and Virtual Currencies Working Group (the Working Group) that it, along with all of its members, will ensure ongoing compliance with all applicable antitrust and competition laws.
    All members agree to sign and strictly follow the principles set out herein with full support of their management as well as their employees and staff (whether permanent, fixed-term or temporary). This Statement is an integral part of the Ethical Guidelines issued by the Working Group and is designed to ensure the Working Group’s activities and positioning continues to be effective and compliant.

  • What Are Antitrust / Competition Laws?

    Antitrust or competition laws have been adopted by over 100 countries around the world. Most countries have modelled their antitrust regimes on the US Sherman Act or the European Union TFEU.
    All members of the Working Group must ensure ongoing compliance with all applicable antitrust and competition laws where they do business. Members are advised that they may also be exposed to antitrust laws of countries where they do not have business presence – this is based on the effects test applied by some regulators. Therefore, members should ensure that their proposed conduct is evaluated against all competition regimes where the agreement, decision or concerted practice may have an economic effect.
    Responsibility for overseeing compliance with the law and corporate policy rests with business line management, and ultimately the Board of Directors of each member.

  • What is a Cartel?

    A cartel can be formed by any agreement between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between EU Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal EU market.
    A cartel is one of the most serious infringements of competition laws of the European Union as well as in most other jurisdictions. Cartels usually lead to the imposition of significant monetary fines and, in certain jurisdictions, criminal penalties.
    Members are advised that trade associations, working groups, industry interest groups and trade conferences are a particular focal point for antitrust enforcement. In addition to direct contact between competitors, they frequently involve joint activities towards a common goal.

  • Zero Tolerance

    Participation by a member in a cartel, or using the Working Group as a platform to create a cartel, is unacceptable. This is because the Working Group respects competition laws and expects that its members do the same. It is against the Working Group’s core values of competing freely and fairly, based on innovation, disruptive technology and the added value of competitive products and services. The Working Group reserves the right to expel any member(s) that does not uphold these values.

  • Working Group Meetings

    The Working Group administrator will circulate an agenda for each Working Group meeting. All members are advised to review the agenda prior to attending that meeting and, specifically, the topics that will be covered in that meeting. Each member must refrain from discussing, agreeing, or exchanging information regarding any forward looking and competitively sensitive information with any other member. Such information includes, but may not be limited to:

    • Fees charged or costs incurred
    • Any specific implementation measures in response to regulatory requirements
    • Agreeing to not recruit from each other, or specific third parties
    • Allocating customers, markets and/or contracts across the value chain
    • Any increase, decrease or discount in fees, charges, rates etc
    • What constitutes a fair cost or price level or how it should be calculated
    • Refusal to deal with any customer or group of customers
    • Refusal to deal with any liquidity provider, market maker, service provider, vendor etc
    • What products or services will be offered to customers and consumers
    • Terms and conditions of trade
    • Any other forward looking and competitively sensitive information, such as information about market share, profits, margins, costs, reimbursement levels, payment terms etc.

    If a member would like to raise a topic for discussion at a future meeting, which may include forward looking and competitively sensitive information, it should complete the form attached as Annex A. If a member reasonably takes the view that a particular topic or information exchange from a previous meeting may not be compliant with antitrust and competition laws, it should complete the form attached as Annex B. The administrator will respond with his or her decision, which shall be final.
    The member must first discuss the matter internally and ensure alignment with its compliance / legal teams and its senior management. The forms should only be shared with the Working Group administrator and NOT WITH ALL MEMBERS.

  • Undertaking By All Members With Immediate Effect

    All Working Group members commit to compliant and ethical behaviour, and to refrain from engaging in any agreement, decision or concerted practice that has the object or effect of preventing, restricting or distorting competition.
    The Working Group and its members will take all necessary steps to be fully informed of applicable antitrust and competition laws within the European Union as well as any jurisdiction where the agreement, decision or concerted practice may have economic effect. All members commit to ongoing compliance by monitoring their business practices for potential infringements on a regular basis.

By agreeing and committing to this Statement, each member undertakes to uphold this Statement and the values it represents.