Twenty-two US senators have sent a letter to senior government officials and the Federal Reserve requesting information about the regulation and oversight of virtual currencies and blockchain tech.
In the letter dated 21st July, the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairswrote that it is seeking to “better understand the way US regulators oversee FinTech and their relationships with federally regulated financial institutions”.
The letter was addressed to Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Martin Gruenberg, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency chief Thomas Curry, and National Credit Union Administration chair Rick Metsger.
The letter casts a broad net on the subject of FinTech, though it makes specific reference to blockchain technology.
“Please describe: What your agency has done to study and understand the various types of FinTech companies involved in marketplace lending, alternative payments, consumer lending, blockchain and distributed ledger, virtual currencies…”
The letter further sought details about regulatory cooperation among international bodies on the topic of FinTech, as well as clarification on consumer protection policy.
“These companies are changing financial services, and it is vital that the regulators and Congress understand all the impacts and take actions as appropriate,” it urged.
Though notable for its broader take on both digital currencies and potential non-financial blockchain applications, the letter isn’t the first of its kind to emerge from Congress.
In mid-2013, the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter to the Department of Defense seeking clarification on its then-current policies on digital currencies.
Individual senators have inked letters pursuing information – or action – on the technology as well. 2014 saw several senators contact the US government to seek information on the subject, and in the case of Joe Manchin of West Virginia, an outright ban on bitcoin.