This Week in Policy (2/28)

This Week in Policy (2/28)

Hey Folks,

I am not an expert in SWIFT, but here’s a few helpful explainers for those looking to understand the latest sanctions. As the world watches Ukraine, crypto sees both scrutiny and endorsement. The world of fintech policy still moves. Read on:

  • UK fintech companies want regulation quickly: A year ago the UK Government published the Kalifa Review, a comprehensive mandate for further embrace of the benefits, and protection against the downsides, of fintech growth in the country. While quite a bit of the recommendations have been implemented, including a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology, 70 fintech companies published a letter last week under their Innovate Finance industry group byline calling for further action to support the growth of the industry. Specifically the letter called for more regulatory intervention, including a “full crypto regulatory regime” and revised capital requirements. No shortage of work to be done by UK regulators who are being pushed on either side.
  • US Regulators targeting new rule on home valuations: Those who’ve followed the Zillow home buying saga may be interested in a new rule the CFPB, OCC, FDIC, NCUA, and FHFA are exploring regarding algorithmic home valuations. Last week the CFPB published its SBREFA Review, the first step in a rulemaking process, outlining “quality control standards” for “automated valuation models” (AVMs). Regulators’ primary interest is in ensuring models don’t reflect historical bias, undeniably a tricky matter given historical redlining’s impact on America’s neighborhoods. The CFPB has 60 days to take stock of the rule’s potential impact on small businesses, then it can proceed with rulemaking.
  • EU kickstarts Data Act with connected devices, and a DeFi kill switch?: For months the European Commission has explored major new developments for data regulations on the continent, with some industry pushback from major tech companies. Last week the EC published parts of the Data Act, focusing on giving consumers and small businesses more control over their data. Consumers will be able to access and share data they generate through connected devices, and small businesses will have better contract negotiation standing for their data storage and transmission providers. A small stipulation, however, is raising eyes in the crypto community - Article 30 says that smart contracts like those used in DeFi operations must have a kill switch. This is only draft legislation, so we’ll see how the crypto lobby responds.
  • Ukraine could be a flashpoint moment for crypto: Millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies have been sent to the Ukrainian Government as it raises funds for its defense, while this same government calls for a crackdown on Russians’ use of crypto. Ukraine’s central bank halted e-transfers as part of its declaration of martial law, perhaps increasing crypto’s appeal as an alternative. In either case, many regulators, politicians, and technologists are watching to see what role crypto plays in the ongoing crisis gripping our world.

Praying for peace.