Speaking at Chicago’s Fintech Week 2017, Secretary Bryan A. Schneider of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) today announced a new initiative aimed at supporting and encouraging innovation in financial services.
IDFPR’s Financial Innovation Initiative seeks to assist both financial service start-ups and established businesses in bringing innovative ideas to the financial services markets.
Schneider sees the project as an opportunity for the state’s regulator to serve the changing needs and preferences of customers, banks, and the financial sector.
Bryan A. Schneider, IDFPR Secretary said:
“As a regulator with a competitive objective, IDFPR seeks an active role in efforts to ensure Illinois’ regulatory approach is in step with digital innovation. With the launch of our Financial Innovation Initiative, we endeavor to support fintech businesses through regular engagement and education, while gaining real-time insight into how current laws and regulations are impacting these emerging technologies.”
IDFPR’s Financial Innovation Initiative represents a first of its kind in the state regulatory system and will begin by engaging with innovators in the financial services community through regularly scheduled office hours at Illinois-based fintech and innovation incubators to provide informal assistance and guidance.
In the coming months, IDFPR will roll out additional projects under the Financial Innovation Initiative, featuring a dedicated “RegHub” or web portal providing innovators easy access to resources needed to effectively navigate state regulatory obligations, training resources for staff regarding emerging trends, as well as exploring opportunities to drive regulatory collaboration and uniformity with other federal, state and international regulators.
The City of Chicago, as a major global commodities trading hub, has the infrastructure in place to support a healthy bitcoin and digital asset trading and investment sector. Time will tell how these new initiatives launched today will play out in a practical sense.
Back in November of 2016, Secretary Schneider with the IDFPR announced the release for comment of the Department’s proposed “Digital Currency Regulatory Guidance” on decentralized digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Zcash.
The proposed guidance expresses the IDFPR’s interpretation of Illinois’ Transmitters of Money Act (TOMA) and the application of its interpretation to various activities involving digital currencies.
Secretary Schneider was quoted back then as saying:
“As innovative payment technologies grow in popularity, it is vital that we provide a succinct regulatory framework that gives businesses operating in this space necessary clarity. We plan to study digital currencies carefully as the technology develops, however, at this point in time digital currencies like Bitcoin, given their low transaction volume and relatively niche use, are best viewed as a speculative investment or possibly even a new type of asset class, not as money.”