U.S. CFTC launches LabCFTC to promote FinTech innovation

By Anthony Nolan and Eric A. Love

On May 17, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it voted to unanimously to approve the creation of LabCFTC, a New York-based initiative that is designed to try to encourage innovation in the Fintech industry and enhance the “quality, resiliency, and competiveness” of the commodity futures and swaps markets.  LabCFTC will also seek to identify and use FinTech and RegTech solutions that can position the CFTC to more effectively and efficiently fulfill its regulatory responsibilities in increasingly digital financial markets.

LabCFTC consists of GuidePoint, a point of contact at the CFTC for FinTech industry participants that will facilitate greater engagement on the agency’s regulatory regime, as well as on new technologies in the marketplace.  GuidePoint will also allow FinTech innovators to obtain guidance about the applicability of CFTC regulations to proposed industry innovations.  In addition, LabCFTC consists of CFTC 2.0, an initiative that will focus on utilizing new technologies to improve the CFTC’s operations.

In a speech announcing LabCFTC, Acting CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo did not explicitly characterize the initiative as a “regulatory sandbox” or indicate that FinTech companies would be exempt from CFTC regulations.  He did, however, outline several future aspects of LabCFTC, including a possible annual CFTC FinTech conference and other ways by which the CFTC might engage academia and thought leaders to modernize the agency and continue to spur FinTech innovation.

Additional information about LabCFTC is available here.

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