Blockchain Weekly Recap 10-29-2016
OCC Unveils Policy Outline for Blockchain Startup Regulations
This week, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) unveiled its first policy outline providing a broad overview of how the banking regulator intends to approach the task of regulating blockchain startups and other new FinTech enterprises. The plan includes the creation of an Office of Innovation that will be set up in the nation’s capital. That office will be responsible for engaging in outreach with these new startups and helping to develop new policies. The Office of Innovation head will be directly accountable to the current Comptroller, Thomas Curry.
This is just the OCC’s latest foray into FinTech – an area of innovation that the agency has been closely monitoring in recent months. Just this year alone, the OCC has released a white paper on these new technologies and publicly suggested that the US might need to create a unique federal charter for these high-tech companies. The agency continues to study that and other issues related to blockchain and FinTech, and has plans to accelerate its internal blockchain tech training to ensure that OCC staff are up to speed on these innovative technologies.
S&P Ratings Could Be Impacted by Blockchain Adoption
Standard & Poor’s recently released a report that indicates that the ratings giant might move to change financial institutions’ ratings if accelerated adoption of blockchain technology impacts the industry’s existing business models. The report suggests that S&P believes that the trend toward increased blockchain investment on the part of banks and other financial firms is evidence that the industry is even now undergoing transformative changes. Because the incorporation of blockchain technology could offer banks and other finance companies new opportunities for revenue streams and improvements in many operational areas, S&P says that its use could make various business models less relevant and thus justify a change in ratings.
Scotland Seeking Blockchain-Powered Stock Exchange
According to an announcement this week, Scotex is currently attempting to raise 12 million pounds in capital to fund the creation of a new independent Scottish equity market in 2017. The plan is for the new exchange to utilize blockchain tech to facilitate trading activity. Scotex is hyping several important benefits that its exchange will provide, including almost-instantaneous trades and the elimination of costly clearinghouse activities. The exchange suggests that brokers and investors will be able to access funds related to any trades in fifteen minutes or less.
Scotland hasn’t had its own independent stock exchange since the Scottish Stock Exchange was merged with the London Stock Exchange back in 1973. And while there have been periodic calls for the reestablishment of an independent national exchange in the decades since, there had been little serious movement on the issue until the UK’s Brexit vote earlier this year. In the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the EU, Scotland’s First Minister has indicated that she will call for another independence vote if the upcoming Brexit negotiations aren’t to her liking. If that happens, there may be even more impetus for the country to create its own independent exchange.
Chinese and Russian Central Securities Depositories Teaming on Blockchain Applications
Russia’s National Settlement Depository has reportedly joined in partnership with the Chinese Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited to work together on a variety of issues – including blockchain trials. The NSD’s chairman cited the need for greater cooperation in matters related to FinTech, and noted that the agreement included an effort to coordinate blockchain research related to post-trade concerns. The new partnership will see both institutions sharing information and exchanging their unique experiences with the technology.