Coin Center to Lawmakers: Blockchain Startups Are Best Advised to Leave US

Stan Higgins
Jun 12, 2017 at 16:00 UTC
news

A Congressional hearing on Friday saw the non-profit blockchain advocacy group Coin Center call for a federal approach to money services licensure.

The House of Representatives Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection – a part of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – hosted a session on financial technology and consumer choice as part of its ongoing “Disrupter” series. Blockchain was on the agenda during a similar panel in March 2016, during which the tech’s regulatory impact was weighed.

Among those appearing during the panel was Coin Center director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh, who, according to a hearing agenda, spoke alongside Jeanne Hogarth, vice president of the Center for Financial Services Innovation; Christina Tetreault, staff attorney for Consumer Union; and Javier Saade, managing director of Fenway Summer Ventures.

In his written statement, Van Valkenburgh argued that the US has an opportunity to lead on the fintech front – but at present, the current regulatory climate has resulted in a situation in which “we are following not leading”.

Van Valkenburgh told the subcommittee:

“A young innovator dreaming of building the financial infrastructure of the future would be well-advised to leave the U.S. Not because she should try and avoid justifiable consumer protections, or do it on the cheap in a foreign state that will look the other way, but—instead—because simply determining what the U.S. regulatory landscape demands from her is a herculean undertaking.”

One solution to easing that regulatory burden: curtailing the state-by-state approach to licensing money services businesses, like the kinds that work with digital currencies.

“In order to reestablish the US as a leader, we need to rationalize the chaos of financial services regulation,” he said. “The state-by-state approach to money transmission licensing, in particular, jeopardizes not only permissionless innovation but also responsible innovation.”

A video of the House hearing can be viewed below:

Image via YouTube