Archives: Fintech

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GAO Publishes Report on Fintech Regulation

On March 22, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) issued a report on the regulation of financial technology (“fintech”) in response to a request from Congress for more information on “fintech activities.” The report concludes that agencies that regulate fintech firms should coordinate with each other more closely, develop offices of innovation (for agencies that … Continue Reading

FinCEN Extends Regulations to Initial Coin Offerings

On March 6, 2018, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) released its response to Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) request for information relating to FinCEN’s oversight and enforcement of virtual currency activities.  In the letter, FinCEN outlined its intent to regulate certain operators of initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) as money transmitters subject … Continue Reading

Advancing Blockchain Cybersecurity: Technical and Policy Considerations for the Financial Services Industry

Blockchain is a powerful innovation that is poised to bring substantial positive change to the financial services industry as well as many other industries.  Despite such promise, blockchain, like any emerging financial services technology, must be evaluated from the perspective of cybersecurity risk – both to an individual financial institution and to the broader and … Continue Reading

FCC: Bitcoin Mining Equipment is Causing Interference to T-Mobile in Brooklyn

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission sent a letter to an individual in Brooklyn, New York, alleging that a device in the individual’s residence that is being used to mine Bitcoin is generating spurious radiofrequency emissions, causing interference to a portion of T-Mobile’s mobile telephone and broadband network. The letter states that on November 30, 2017, … Continue Reading

CSBS Announces Multi-State Compact to Standardize Money Transmitter Licensing

On February 6, 2018, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (“CSBS”) – the nationwide organization representing banking regulators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – announced that seven states have agreed to a compact that standardizes five major areas of the licensing process for money … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Financial Services Issues Guidance on Fraud and Market Manipulation in Virtual Currency Markets

On February 7, 2018, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issued guidance for all virtual currency business entities (“VCBEs”) regarding the prevention of market manipulation and other wrongful activity. In a brief, two-page document, the DFS: (1) emphasized the importance of effectively preventing and responding to fraud and similar wrongdoing; (2) stated … Continue Reading

SEC Chairman Issues Statement on Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings

On December 11, 2017, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton issued a Statement on Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (the “Statement”) reflecting his own views on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (“ICOs”)* and their relationship to federal securities laws.  The Chairman’s Statement follows three separate public enforcement actions brought by the SEC since September 2017 involving ICOs. … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues Principles for Consumer-Authorized Access of Financial Data

On October 18, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued “Consumer Protection Principles” for protecting consumers’ interests in the context of consumer-authorized data sharing and aggregation. The principles are related to the Request for Information that the Bureau issued in connection with section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act late last year. The Consumer Protection Principles … Continue Reading

SEC Brings Enforcement Action Against Two Companies Related to Initial Coin Offerings

On September 29, 2017, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in federal court against REcoin Group Foundation, LLC (“REcoin”); DRC World, Inc., also known as Diamond Reserve Club (“DRC”); and their principal, Maksim Zaslavskiy. The complaint alleges false and misleading statements and violations of securities laws in connection with initial coin offerings … Continue Reading

CFPB Issues its First No-Action Letter

On September 14, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB” or the “Bureau”) issued a no-action letter for the first time, after having finalized its no-action letter policy in February 2016.  The Bureau’s letter grants a request by Upstart Network, Inc. (“Upstart”), an online lender that uses both traditional and non-traditional credit scoring data, … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Updates Strategies and Tactics for Promoting Payment System Improvements

On September 6, 2017, the Federal Reserve System (“FRS”) published a paper that identifies updated strategies and tactics for improving the U.S. payments system. The paper, entitled Strategies for Improving the U.S. Payment System: Federal Reserve Next Steps in the Payments Improvement Journey, refines the strategies set forth in a previous FRS paper, Strategies for … Continue Reading

As New Commissioners Come Onboard, CFTC Can Begin Moving Forward

For nearly six months following former Chairman Timothy G. Massad’s resignation from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), the CFTC operated with only two commissioners, current Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo and Commissioner Sharon Y. Bowen. Even with only two commissioners, the CFTC was able to undertake several regulatory initiatives, including Project KISS, an effort towards … Continue Reading

ISDA Releases Whitepaper Regarding Legal Perspectives on Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger Technology

On August 3, 2017, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA”) and Linklaters LLP released a whitepaper titled “Smart Contracts and Distributed Ledger – A Legal Perspective.” The whitepaper sets out to define the terms “smart contract” and “distributed ledger,” to analyze their applications to the derivatives industry, and to highlight potential legal issues raised … Continue Reading

SEC Report of Investigation Concludes that DAO Tokens Were Securities

On July 25, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a Report of Investigation (“Report”) finding that the digital tokens offered and sold by the virtual, unincorporated organization known as “The DAO” were securities subject to the federal securities laws. The DAO sold DAO tokens in exchange for the digital currency Ether used on … Continue Reading

Acting Comptroller Noreika Addresses Challenges to the OCC’s Fintech Charter

In remarks on Wednesday before the Exchequer Club in Washington, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika responded to State regulators and consumer advocates who have criticized the OCC’s proposed special purpose fintech charter (the proposed charter is discussed in this Covington client alert). Acting Comptroller Noreika’s comments on the fintech charter reflect an evolution … Continue Reading

CFTC Approves Registration of Bitcoin Platform LedgerX

On July 6, 2017, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) announced that it had granted LedgerX registration as a swap execution facility (“SEF”).  LedgerX is a platform that will trade and clear options on bitcoin. LedgerX has also applied to become a derivatives clearing organization.  If approved, LedgerX “would be the first federally regulated bitcoin … Continue Reading

CFTC Acting Chairman Makes Budget Request

On June 8, 2017, Acting Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) made his request for the CFTC’s budget for fiscal year 2018 (“FY 2018”) to the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies (“Subcommittee”).  Acting Chair Giancarlo is seeking an increase in the CFTC’s budget from … Continue Reading

CFTC Launches FinTech Initiative “LabCFTC”

On May 17, 2017, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) announced the launch of its financial technology (“FinTech”) initiative, LabCFTC.  Per the agency, the initiative is designed to “promot[e] responsible FinTech innovation to improve the quality, resiliency, and competitiveness of the markets the CFTC oversees.”  According to Acting Chair J. Christopher Giancarlo, LabCFTC is “intended … Continue Reading

FDIC Settles Unfair and Deceptive Practices Investigation with Bank and Institution-Affiliated Parties

On May 11, 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) announced settlements with Bank of Lake Mills and two of its institution-affiliated parties, Freedom Stores, Inc. and Military Credit Services, LLC.  The settlements require the companies to pay restitution totaling $3 million to past and present borrowers who were harmed, impose civil monetary penalties totaling … Continue Reading

Conference of State Bank Supervisors Sues To Stop OCC Fintech Charters

On April 26, 2017, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (“CSBS”) filed a complaint against the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry to block the agency from going forward with its proposal to grant special purpose national bank charters to fintech companies. The CSBS filed … Continue Reading

OCC Issues Draft Licensing Manual for Evaluating Charter Applications from Fintech Companies

On Wednesday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) issued a highly-anticipated draft supplement to its Licensing Manual (the “Supplement”) for evaluating applications from fintech companies for a special purpose national bank (“SPNB”) charter. The Supplement explains how the OCC will apply its existing licensing standards and requirements to these companies. The OCC … Continue Reading

OCC and CFPB weigh in on Fintech issues

In separate remarks at the Lendit USA 2017 conference on March 6, 2017, Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, and Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), discussed their respective agencies’ approaches to fintech. Although neither agency head made any groundbreaking announcement, their remarks provide an up-to-date summary of the … Continue Reading
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