The European Commission (EC) has set out some key goals that will progress its aim of becoming a global hub for fintech, including boosting crowdfunding across the Single Market. The financial sector is the largest user of digital technologies and a major driver in the digital transformation of the economy, said the EC in its statement. The aim of the Action Plan is therefore to enable the financial sector to make use of the rapid advances in new technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and Cloud services. The plan is part of the EC's drive to create a Capital Markets Union (CMU) and a true single market for consumer financial services, as well as the Digital Single Market.
"New technologies are transforming the financial industry by revolutionising the way people access financial services. Alternative sources of funding, such as crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending, directly link savings with investments. They make the market more accessible for innovative entrepreneurs, start-ups and small companies. This objective is at the heart of the Capital Markets Union," said Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.
Fintech action plan
The fintech action plan consists of 23 steps, including the following:
- The Commission will host an EU FinTech Laboratory where European and national authorities will engage with tech providers in a neutral, non-commercial space;
- The Commission has already created an EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum. It will report on the challenges and opportunities of crypto assets later in 2018 and is working on a comprehensive strategy on distributed ledger technology and blockchain addressing all sectors of the economy. A distributed ledger is an information database that is shared across a network. The best-known type of distributed ledger is blockchain.
- The Commission will consult on how best to promote the digitisation of information published by listed companies in Europe, including by using innovative technologies to interconnect national databases. This will give investors far easier access to key information to inform their investment decisions.
- The Commission will run workshops to improve information-sharing when it comes to cybersecurity;
- The Commission will present a blueprint with best practices on regulatory sandboxes, based on guidance from European Supervisory Authorities. A regulatory sandbox is a framework set up by regulators that allows fintech startups and other innovators to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment, under a regulator's supervision. Regulatory sandboxes are gaining popularity, mostly in developed financial markets.
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