If the blockchain industry had been knocking at the iron-clad gates of the Securities and Exchange Commission, it appears access was just granted.
The US’s supreme financial watchdog unveiled the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, or ‘FinHub’, which aims to help streamline the legal affairs of blockchain companies and fintech startups by boiling down its services to a single point of access.
Announced Oct. 18, the new portal will offer a central port of call to all fintech-related industries including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and, crucially, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)—or what the SEC creatively dubbed “digital marketplace financing”—in its seeming portent press release.
Is the SEC finally opening the gates?
To many, the move will read as one of the SEC’s most quietly bullish to date, with Chairman Jay Clayton appearing to bring the ax down on any speculation that his commission was out to put the brakes on the growth of the blockchain industry.
In a thinly veiled nod to ICOs, Clayton seemed to suggest the SEC was willing to soften its stance on “new approaches to capital formation”. He stated:
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.
Having tossed a dizzying number of Bitcoin ETF proposals in the wastebasket, the SEC appears to have carried little favor with the wider cryptocurrency community to date. In June, however, the secretive commission seemed to open the gates just a crack when it called on the public to offer their sentiments on Cboe’s now-flagship ETF proposal.
Crucially, FinHub is to give the public a direct line of access to SEC staff on “innovative ideas and technological developments”, with its leader, Valerie A. Szczepanik, telling Forbes hearing public opinion has been “incredibly helpful” when it comes to “fast-moving” areas such as distributed ledger technology.
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