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Blockchain has a Perception Problem

The International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) just wrapped up a panel on “FinTech and the Transformation of Financial Services” here in Washington, DC. Presenting 4 propositions, the IMF invited the panelists and the audience to vote on whether they agreed or disagreed with each. Following the panel’s discussion on each proposition, the votes were compared. To the exclusion of all other Fintech topics, there was an almost singular focus on blockchain in each panelist’s response to the propositions. This focus by itself is illuminating, however the audience and the panel diverged dramatically on one proposition, whether FinTech will help rather than hinder regulation of AML and combatting the financing of terrorism (“CFT”). The panel agreed, 92% to 8%, that FinTech would assist with AML and CFT efforts. The audience was essentially split, agreeing 57% to 43%. Similarly, 40% of the audience believed FinTech posed a threat to financial stability while only 17% of the experts shared that view. The takeaway here is that, while those of us who are intimately familiar with this technology clearly understand its benefits, the general electorate does not. So, does Congress? Financial regulators? Now is the time to engage counsel and shape public policy.

Here are the results for all 4 propositions, with each paraphrased:

 

Agree

Disagree

1. AI will have a greater impact on financial services in the next 3 to 5 years than DLT.

Panel

27%

73%

Audience

23%

77%

2. FinTech will make banks obsolete or redundant.

Panel

25%

75%

Audience

18%

82%

3. FinTech will endanger the financial industry.

Panel

17%

83%

Audience

40%

60%

4. FinTech will help rather than hinder regulation of AML and CFT.

Panel

92%

8%

Audience

57%

43%

Copyright 2017 K & L Gates

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About this Author

Tyler Kirk, Securities, Finance, Attorney, KL Gates Law Firm
Associate

Tyler Kirk is an associate in K&L Gates' Washington, D.C. office, and a member of the firm's Investment Management, Hedge Funds and Alternative Investments practice group. Mr. Kirk focuses his practice on U.S. federal and state securities laws, investment company governance and operations, investment advisers, family offices, regulatory investigations, and private securities litigation. He advises clients on the formation and regulation of public and private pooled investment vehicles, the regulation of investment advisers, fiduciary law, derivatives, investigations...

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