Archive: July 2017

1
U.S. SEC issues report on digital currencies and related autonomous organizations
2
Crowdfunding Regulation Part 2: Guidance For CSF Intermediaries
3
Crowdfunding Regulation Part 1: Guidance For Public Companies
4
Australia stepping closer to open banking
5
FCA payment services rule making powers extended
6
Increased access to the Bank of England’s payment systems
7
Proposed APRA powers over non-bank lenders
8
Bank of England FinTech Accelerator Proofs of Concept
9
Blockchain for the humanitarian sector
10
More banks join SWIFT blockchain Proof of Concept

U.S. SEC issues report on digital currencies and related autonomous organizations

By C. Todd Gibson and Evan Glover

On July 25th the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) released a report to put the market on notice that offers and sales of digital assets are subject to the requirements of the federal securities laws.

The report is a result of an investigation of a German created entity called The DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), which is a virtual organization that exists within computer code and is executed on a blockchain or decentralized ledger.  The DAO sold DAO Tokens, which had characteristics similar to stock (e.g. certain ownership and voting rights), with the intent to raise funds to finance various projects.  The DAO Tokens were purchased using a digital currency and could be monetized by re-selling the token on a web-based platform that supported a secondary market.  The DAO engaged in these offers and sales in the U.S. despite not registering with the SEC.

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Crowdfunding Regulation Part 2: Guidance For CSF Intermediaries

By Jim Bulling, Michelle Chasser and Daniel Knight

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published Consultation Paper 289 Crowd-sourced funding: Guide for intermediaries. CP 289 includes a draft Regulatory Guide outlining ASIC’s proposed guidance for crowd-sourced funding platform operators (CSF intermediaries) who can apply to ASIC for a licence from 29 September 2017, including an explanation of the new Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Regulations 2017.

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Crowdfunding Regulation Part 1: Guidance For Public Companies

By Jim Bulling, Michelle Chasser and Daniel Knight

While the Australian government considers including private companies in the crowd-sourced funding (CSF) regime, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published Consultation Paper 288 Crowd-sourced funding: Guide for public companies. CP 288 includes a draft Regulatory Guide outlining ASIC’s proposed guidance for public companies which will raise funds through the CSF regime from 28 September 2017, including an explanation of the new Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Regulations 2017.

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Australia stepping closer to open banking

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

The Australian Treasury has announced an independent review into open banking in Australia. Open banking will require banks to share product and customer data with customers and third parties with the consent of the customer. The Government previously announced that the open banking regime would be introduced in 2018 to help customers seek more suitable products and increase competition.

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FCA payment services rule making powers extended

By Jonathan Lawrence

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a statement expressing concern that payment institutions and e-money institutions may have used currency converter tools in relation to their currency transfer services in a misleading way. Tools which convert currency at the interbank rate may be used in such a way as to give consumers the misleading impression that the interbank rates shown are available to them, rather than the materially inferior rate that customers are likely to achieve. Consumers may not become fully aware of the inferior rate they are likely to achieve until an advanced stage in the customer journey, commonly after a customer registration process has been undertaken. At that stage, consumers may be unlikely to shop around.

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Increased access to the Bank of England’s payment systems

By Jonathan Lawrence

The Bank of England has widened access to the United Kingdom’s interbank payments system to increase competition by FinTech providers. The Bank announced on 19 July that a new generation of non-bank payment service providers (PSPs) will now be eligible to apply for a settlement account in the Bank’s Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system. The RTGS system has traditionally held the accounts of financial institutions in order to promote inter-bank settlement. Holding their own settlement account at the Bank will enable these non-bank PSPs to apply, for the first time, for direct access to the UK’s sterling payment systems that settle in sterling central bank money, including Faster Payments, Bacs, CHAPS, LINK, Visa, and, once live, the new digital cheque imaging system.

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Proposed APRA powers over non-bank lenders

By Michelle Chasser and Daniel Knight

The Australian Treasury has released for consultation, draft legislation which would give the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) prudential regulatory powers in relation to non-bank lenders including marketplace lenders. Non-bank lenders are corporations:

  • whose business activities in Australia include the provision of finance such as:
    • the lending of money;
    • carrying out activities, whether directly or indirectly (such as through a trust), which result in the funding or originating of loans;
    • letting or hire-purchase of goods; or
    • acquiring debts dues to another person, bills of exchange or promissory notes; and
  • with more than $50 million in loan principal amounts outstanding or debts due to it resulting from transactions entered into in the course of providing finance.

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Bank of England FinTech Accelerator Proofs of Concept

By Jonathan Lawrence and Judith Rinearson

On July 10, 2017, the Bank of England (the “Bank”) published summaries of their third round of Proofs of Concept (“PoC”), completed by its FinTech Accelerator.

The FinTech Accelerator was established in 2016, and works in partnership with firms to understand the new technology they may be working with and how FinTech innovations could be utilised within central banking. These PoC provide valuable understanding in respect of FinTech trends and support to its continued development by providing a platform for those firms to demonstrate their solutions for real issues and knowledge from BoE experts.

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Blockchain for the humanitarian sector

By Jonathan Lawrence

A network of global charities has begun using blockchain to provide costs savings and transparency to donations. Organisations including Oxfam, Save the Children, Mercy Corps and Christian Aid are three of the 42 members of the Start Network, which trialled the use of blockchain in humanitarian projects last year. The group will work on the project with start-up fund management platform Disberse.

Disberse uses blockchain, which records all transactions in a distributed digital ledger, to try to ensure that less money is lost on exchange rate fluctuations and traditional banking fees. It will also help charities to fight fraud, by tracking all transactions. The ultimate aim would be to track every dollar in aid, from original donor to each individual assisted.

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More banks join SWIFT blockchain Proof of Concept

By Jonathan Lawrence

22 additional global banks have joined SWIFT’s blockchain proof of concept (PoC), designed to validate whether the technology can help banks reconcile their international nostro accounts in real time. A nostro account is an account that a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank. These banks will test and validate the PoC’s blockchain application, currently under development by SWIFT and a group of six founding banks that launched the PoC in April 2017. Working independently of the founding banks, the 22 institutions will act as a validation group to further test the application and evaluate how the technology scales and performs.

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