The US government is slowly integrating cryptocurrency and financial technology into its regulatory ecosystem, adding legitimacy and more support for the space. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that they are launching the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub).
Led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation and Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, FinHub will connect and update the public on SEC-related issues and initiatives dealing with distributed ledger technology including blockchain and cryptocurrencies, automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing and artificial intelligence.
In addition, the SEC says FinHub will initiate support for the following key areas.
- Provide a portal for industry and the public to engage directly with SEC staff on innovative ideas and technological developments.
- Publicize information regarding the SEC’s activities and initiatives involving fintech on FinHub.
- Engage with the public through publications and events, including a fintech forum focusing on distributed ledger technology and digital assets planned for 2019.
- Act as a platform and clearinghouse for SEC staff to acquire and disseminate information and fintech-related knowledge within the agency.
- Serve as a liaison to other domestic and international regulators regarding emerging technologies in financial, regulatory and supervisory systems.
FinHub will also act as a resource for fintech entrepreneurs, startups and initial coin offerings, with a focus on the three “Rs” for ICOs: risks, rewards and responsibilities.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton details the initiative,
“The SEC is committed to working with investors and market participants on new approaches to capital formation, market structure, and financial services, with an eye toward enhancing, and in no way reducing, investor protection. The FinHub provides a central point of focus for our efforts to monitor and engage on innovations in the securities markets that hold promise, but which also require a flexible, prompt regulatory response to execute our mission.”
The SEC made it clear that they’re open to working with compliant fintech developers, as opposed to against them. Szczepanik says,
“SEC staff across the agency have been engaged for some time in efforts to understand emerging technologies, communicate the agency’s stance on new issues, and facilitate beneficial innovations in the securities industry. By launching FinHub, we hope to provide a clear path for entrepreneurs, developers, and their advisers to engage with SEC staff, seek input, and test ideas.”
The announcement comes just weeks after US lawmakers sent a letter to the SEC asking for clarity on their stance regarding cryptocurrency.
Outreach and access are part of the SEC’s strategy to nurture technologists, retain talent in the US and collaborate with the leaders, futurists and innovators who are creating the digital economy.
To request a meeting or assistance from SEC staff, you can click here.