SEC launches fintech hub to engage with crypto industry
US market regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a public portal on its website to better engage with operators and users of financial technology (fintech) such as blockchain.
The agency’s Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) will provide the public with information and engagement on the SEC’s fintech-related issues and initiatives on topics such as distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence/machine learning.
Replacing and building on work already done by several internal working groups, the FinHub will:
- Provide a portal for industry and the public to directly engage with SEC staff on innovative developments
- Publicise information regarding the SEC’s activities and initiatives involving fintech
- Engage with the public through publications and events, including a FinTech Forum focused on blockchain and digital assets
- Act as a platform and clearing house for SEC staff to acquire and disseminate information and fintech knowledge within the agency
- Serve as a liaison to other domestic and international regulators regarding emerging fintech and regulatory developments
FinHub will be led by Valerie Szczepanik (left), the SEC’s recently appointed associate director of corporation finance and senior advisor for digital assets and innovation, and staffed by SEC fintech experts.
“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,” said Szczepanik.
“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.”
It is hoped that, as the SEC pursues an ever-increasing number of cases that breach its securities laws, the FinHub will act as a proactive tool that entrepreneurs can engage with to better understand existing SEC regulations and help in the development of new regulatory approaches.
Meanwhile, the SEC has begun to understand that more needs to be done to protect the public as scammers increasingly target innovative investment ideas where clarity and understanding is thin.
To this end, the regulator set up earlier this year a webpage to help potential cryptocurrency investors understand what a scam initial coin offering web promotion looks like.
SEC chairman Jay Clayton said: “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.”