U.S. House of Representatives Launches FinTech and Artificial Intelligence Task Forces

Blockchain & E-Transactions Law

On May 9, 2019, the House Financial Services Committee voted to establish two task forces dedicated to studying technological innovations that impact the financial services arena: a FinTech Task Force and an Artificial Intelligence Task Force. The FinTech Task Force is initially set to study various issues, including fintech regulation in the domestic and international spheres, alternative data for loan underwriting, and data privacy. The Task Force on Artificial Intelligence will study how artificial intelligence affects how consumers interact with and use financial services.

The FinTech Task Force is chaired by Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, and Representatives Warren Davidson (OH), Tom Emmer (MN), and Josh Gottheimer (NJ), all supporters of blockchain technology, are serving on the task force. Each has sponsored or supported legislation that favors the cryptocurrency sector. For instance, in early April, Davidson re-introduced the Token Taxonomy Act, which seeks to exempt cryptocurrencies from federal securities laws and provide much-needed clarity to the crypto sector on the legal status of digital currencies. Gottheimer also sponsored the bill, which was originally introduced in 2018. In a statement, Davidson said that the bill was "the key to unlocking blockchain technology in America," and that Congressional approval of the bill would "send a powerful message to innovators and investors around the world that the U.S. is the best destination for blockchain technology."

For his part, as this blog has previously reported, Emmer has twice introduced legislation which aims to exempt blockchain developers and servicers that do not store digital currency from certain licensing and reporting requirements—including those provided for under state law, which often carry harsh penalties for noncompliance.

The Task Force on Artificial Intelligence will be chaired by Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois and will examine issues such as applications of machine learning in financial services and regulation, the impact of automation on jobs in financial services and the overall economy, and the use of AI in combatting fraud. In a statement, Foster said that AI has the potential to make it easier for consumers to use financial services, "but it is crucial that the application of AI to financial services contributes to an economy that is fair for all Americans."

The task forces are an outgrowth of the desire of Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to promote fintech as a way to increase consumers' access to available credit.

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