It has been a long debated topic whether to consider cryptocurrencies launched through ICOs as securities or not! To tackle this issue, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (fintech), dubbed FinHub.
The FinHub will make it easy for fintech startups to undergo through the legal complications to launch Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Moreover, it will act as a central medium for the securities agency to interact with developers and entrepreneurs from the fintech space. The FinHub will also take over a few of the tasks for the existing groups working on similar issues.
The FinHub page will publicize all the information regarding the SEC’s initiatives and activities in the Fintech space. It will also allow innovators to ask questions and clarify with the SEC on certain matters. Through FinHub, the SEC will also collaborate with local and international regulators working on immerging technologies. The strategic hub plans to open a FinHub Forum focused on digital assets and DLT planned for next year, 2019.
Commenting on the launch of this new division, 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,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “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.”
SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, who has been supportive of letting the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry grow, also expressed optimism on the launch of FinHub.
— Hester Peirce (@HesterPeirce) October 18, 2018
Valerie A. Szczepanik, Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation and Associate Director in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, will lead the FinHub division. A team of SEC representatives having expertise and knowledge of fintech-related issues will work under Szczepanik. Thus, the FinHub will ensure public engagement on SEC’s fintech-related initiatives and issues, like distributed ledger technology (including digital assets), automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and artificial intelligence/machine learning.
“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 Ms. 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.”
Just like the U.S. SEC, regulatory bodies from the around the globe are restructuring the processes to effectively monitor and the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. In July, Japan’s financial regulator – Financial Services Agency (FSA) – announced a new Strategy Development and Management Bureau replacing the Inspection Bureau. The new division will focus on strategic planning and execution of policies to tackle issues pertaining to fintech, digital currencies market, and money laundering.