On May 17, 2017, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) launched an initiative, LabCFTC, which received unanimous approval from the Commissioners. LabCFTC will be based in New York and will focus on assisting the CFTC promote FinTech innovation.
According to the CFTC's announcement, LabCFTC will create opportunities for FinTech innovators to engage with the agency and will be "a platform to inform the CFTC’s understanding of new technologies." The new initiative is a recognition by the CFTC of the benefits of recent technological innovation and an acknowledgment of its need to adapt:
"New technologies are wide-ranging in scope, from cloud computing and algorithmic trading to distributed ledgers to artificial intelligence and machine learning to network cartography, and many others. These technologies have the potential for significant or even transformational impact on CFTC regulated markets and the agency itself."
Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo described the dual purpose of LabCFTC:
“Simply put, LabCFTC is intended to help us bridge the gap from where we are today to where we need to be: 21st century regulation for today’s digital markets. The purpose of LabCFTC is twofold: The first is to provide greater regulatory certainly that encourages market-enhancing FinTech innovation to improve the quality, resiliency, and competitiveness of our markets. The second is to identify and utilize emerging technologies that can enable the CFTC to carry out its mission more effectively and efficiently in the new digital world.”
One component of LabCFTC, GuidePoint, is a dedicated point of contact specifically for FinTech innovators. Using GuidePoint, innovators can obtain feedback from the CFTC, get general information, or offer the CFTC suggestions to enhance FinTech development. There is no fee for submitting an inquiry through GuidePoint.
Another component of LabCFTC is CFTC 2.0, which is simply an initiative designed to foster the adoption of technological development within the CFTC by working with CFTC market participants and the FinTech industry.
LabCFTC invites FinTech innovators to engage with CFTC 2.0 and GuidePoint by emailing directly to LabCFTC@cftc.gov.