The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued its first no-action letter, pursuant to a policy designed to encourage innovation in the fintech marketplace by creating a testing ground for new technologies. If received, a no-action letter simply indicates that the CFPB “has no present intention to recommend initiation of an enforcement or supervisory action” against the applicant with respect to the specific product and regulatory concerns at issue.
There is a lot of noise surrounding capital raising with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and there are updates almost daily from regulators around the globe. For instance, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released their views on ICOs today (see ‘ASIC releases its guidance on ICOs‘), while China has recently banned this new form of capital raising.
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has completed a hat trick of FinTech cooperation agreements with Hong Kong regulators by signing an agreement with the Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA). This adds to those agreements already signed by the FCA with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) on which we have blogged in previous posts.
The European Commission (EC) has published the summary of contributions to its ‘Public Consultation on FinTech: a more competitive and innovative European financial sector’. The consultation, conducted in spring 2017, sought stakeholders’ input to further develop the EC’s approach towards technological innovation in financial services. More than 200 respondents provided their views on FinTech’s legal, regulatory and policy aspects.
Respondents favoured a European Union (EU) policy approach to FinTech guided by the principles of technological neutrality, proportionality and integrity, as well as “same service, same risk, same rule” to ensure a level playing field among market players. The need to maintain an open dialogue between regulators, supervisors and the industry was emphasised. Most respondents expressed broad support for an EU framework for crowdfunding and peer-to-peer financing and convergence across the EU on how supervisors handle licencing, outsourcing, and support for innovation (e.g. innovation hubs).
On 14 September the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) announced that it has signed a series of FinTech cooperation agreements with several regulators in major financial centres. The SC has established FinTech bridges with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This follows the first agreement signed between the SC and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in June 2017.
By Jim Bulling and Felix Charlesworth
The Federal Government has released a consultation paper entitled ‘The Digital Economy: Opening up the Conversation.‘
The consultation paper invites all interested parties across the private and public sectors to contribute to and assist with the development of the Australian Government’s Digital Economy Strategy (Strategy). The Strategy will be launched mid-way through 2018. The Government estimates that adopting a strategy which embraces the emergence of the digital economy could boost the economy by $140 billion to $250 billion over the next 8 years.
The raising of funds for cryptocurrency projects (also called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs) gain more and more market interest. Although there is no specific and coordinated regulatory framework applicable to ICOs, it is not something happening in a completely unregulated area.
As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum become more prevalent in investment circles and acceptable for commercial transactions, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has said little other than to label “virtual currencies” as property and state that transactions involving virtual currencies may be subject to taxation under generally applicable law. However, on September 7, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus introduced the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act which would exempt certain cryptocurrency transactions and create a cryptocurrency-specific information reporting requirement.
To read more about this update, click here.