ARYZE spoke with U.S. Congressman French Hill about the Task Force on Financial Technology in U.S. Congress and U.S. goals regarding fintech, blockchain, and digital currencies
U.S. Congressman French Hill is a member of the Committee Task Force on Financial Technology in congress which is devoted to further understanding fintech’s role in America. He discussed with ARYZE the goals of this task force and shed light on various implementations of fintech in the United States. Congressman Hill has served as a U.S. House Representative since 2015 and has significant experience in the financial industry, working for over two decades as a commercial and investment banker. He also served the U.S. government as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Corporate Finance from 1989 to 1991.
U.S. Congress Task Force on Fintech
The initial development of the Fintech Task Force began in 2018 when U.S. representatives realized that there was a need to bring emphasis to the emerging fintech industry and to review several regulations and several laws to ensure that the United States could remain an innovative leader in financial services as the financial industry moved into the fintech space at a faster rate. This task force began functioning in the summer of 2019 and its initial function was to review the Department of Treasury’s Fintech Report, catalyzing the task force to analyze legislative, regulatory, and state laws that impacted fintech development.
This task force consists of both Democrats and Republicans who have the common view that they want to keep America competitive and they envision a world where one can deliver financial services wholly in a digital form, as Congressman Hill states, “in other words, there is no brick and mortar delivery”. Congressman Hill further describes the goals of the Fintech Task Force:
We wanted to look at the legislative, regulatory and state law environment to be able to deliver financial services wholly in a digital format safely, soundly, and with a real emphasis on improving authentication.
The members of the task force agree on authentication, data privacy and data protection. Where there is some disagreement comes mostly from regional differences. When asked if there are any partisan differences within the task force, Congressman Hill notes that there are not partisan differences but instead different senses of caution of stemming from regional differences. For example congresspeople have different ideas regarding AI and Congressman Hill brings up the follow question:
Can you effectively use artificial intelligence to do credit underwriting and demonstrate, and I think that’s the important word, demonstrate, that you can comply with various consumer protection laws including fair lending laws?
Congressman Hill’s question illuminates the point that it’s important to weigh the relative costs and rewards when implementing new technology. Balancing caution with innovation can lead to forward-thinking, realistic solutions.
Blockchain and Digital Currency
Both Republicans and Democrats within the Fintech Task Force are very supportive of blockchain technology, primarily because of the auditing capacity of blockchain and what Congressman Hill refers to as the “elegance” of the lower costs associated with blockchain technology. Authentication once again becomes a theme, as Congressman Hill points out, it’s important to consider who owns our data, how much control a customer has of their own data, and whether that data is accurately authenticated.
The U.S. Congress is currently in learning mode regarding digital currency and is in the process of learning all the ramifications of the use of a digital currency. One congressman envisions a dollar cryptocurrency issued and actually administered by the federal government, whereas Congressman Hill values choice and competition and wouldn’t discriminate against existing payment players which could help to protect the U.S. dollar internationally.
Congressman Hill brought up points of consideration when thinking about a new digital world. Does one want to have a fully digital dollar with a bank account administered by the federal government? What about personal choice and freedom? Some Americans continue to use paper checks and at times prefer the convenience of using cash. Not to mention the fact that not everyone has equal access to broadband internet, leading to the question of fairness.
The bipartisan nature of Congress’ Task Force on Fintech along with the regional differences of the members gives the task force a unique perspective on fintech’s role in the United States and considers multiple viewpoints and differences in vision that are necessary to consider if we want to implement an inclusive system that takes into account individual differences and varying goals for the future.
For more information about Congressman French Hill and his work with on the Fintech Task Force, visit his website https://hill.house.gov/
For more insights on fintech possibilities and ARYZE’s MAMA wallet app, please visit ARYZE’s blog.