In late February, the US Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), a membership organisation for state banking regulators that liaises with Congress, announced it would launch a new task force aimed at investigating emerging payments issues, including topics related to bitcoin and other digital currencies.

That effort, which is now just underway, will find the CSBS speaking to a wide range of payments industry stakeholders. To date, nine state banking officials have joined the task force, including New York Department of Financial Services superintendent Benjamin Lawsky.

The organisation’s fact-finding mission will take one of its first steps on 16th May, when the CSBS will hold a public hearing on emerging payment issues in Chicago, Illinois.

Margaret Liu, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of the CSBS, told CoinDesk that though this will be one of the task force’s first actions, that doesn’t mean that the task force has been inactive.

Liu said:

“There’s a lot of planning and learning going on.”

The hearing will be open to the public and to the media, though specific speakers have not yet been named.

Progress so far

Throughout the interview, Liu stressed that the CSBS task force is looking at a broad range of topics in the payments space, not simply digital currencies.

As such, it is still conducting research and has not yet identified specific areas of interest in the digital currency sector.

Said Liu:

“We’re looking at the hearing as an educational opportunity, as an opportunity to learn more about all the innovations in payments.”

Long term, the CSBS hopes to develop educational and training resources related to new payment mechanisms, and Liu suggested it may even discuss coordinated approaches to state regulation if necessary.

The later statement could please those in the bitcoin industry that have long lobbied for a standardised approach to US regulation that limits startup costs for new businesses.

Supporting role

CSBS members include state officials responsible for regulating banking in their states, however, it has no authority over their decision making. Liu clarified that each regulator operates under the authority of their respective state laws.

As such, the CSBS does not have an influence on policies, such as those put forth by New York and Texas regarding digital currencies.

Explained Liu:

“We support them through efforts like this hearing, but they make their own decisions pursuant to their states laws and regulation.”

The CSBS Task Force is currently seeking proposals from potential presenters, though it also is taking a wide-lens approach to filling these positions, stating that it has intentionally sought a “very broad” approach to assessing potential speakers.

Those interested in finding out more about the hearing can do so via the CSBS website.

Bank image via Shutterstock 

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