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SEC launches fintech and blockchain portal

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Yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) unveiled a new unit to address fintech issues such as blockchain, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and digital assets. Other topics covered are automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and AI. The unit is called the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub).

“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.

While the portal provides a way for the SEC to publicize information about its activities, there’s also a form to funnel inbound inquiries. Additionally, the SEC aims to use the platform to disseminate information internally and amongst other regulators. Beyond the website, there are plans for events starting with a FinTech Forum on DLT and digital assets in 2019.

Valerie Szczepanik, Senior Advisor for Digital Assets, will lead the unit.

“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.”

On the new website, much of the DLT content covers ICOs, Digital Assets, Coin Exchanges, and the role of the SEC and CFTC. Unsurprisingly, the site links to the SEC’s famous spoof ICO site for HoweyCoins.

However, of more relevance for enterprises, there’s a link to a two hundred page document inviting comment on new transfer agent regulations. The rules for transfer agents were created in 1977 and are largely unchanged despite the evolution of the marketplace.

With the Australian Securities Exchange‘s move to a blockchain platform, the DTCC‘s work, and the various blockchain proxy voting pilots, a review of the rules seems timely.

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