CFTC FinTech Initiative

By Anthony Nolan

On Wednesday Commissioner (and Chairman-designate) Giancarlo of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) gave a speech to the Futures Industry Association in which he identified the embrace of technological change as a key factor in economic growth.  In that speech he announced that the CFTC has been conducting a review of FinTech innovation issues including those arising from a range of new digital technologies. The review is focused on three issues:

  1. How the CFTC should leverage FinTech innovation to make it a more effective regulator;
  2. How CFTC rules and regulations need to be updated to account for FinTech in order for the Commission to be relevant in 21st Century digital markets; and
  3. The proper role of the CFTC in promoting US FinTech innovation in CFTC regulated markets.

This promises to take us well beyond the CFTC’s jurisdiction over bitcoin-based derivatives and swap execution facilities that were at issue in cases such as In re Coinflip, Inc. and In re TeraExchange, LLC.   I would not be surprised if the CFTC’s FinTech report discusses the use of distributed ledger technology to enhance swaps and futures market efficiency and the effectiveness of regulatory oversight.  A link to the CFTC press release on this statement appears here.

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