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Regulation Will Always Lag Innovation: How a Regulatory Sandbox can Help Bridge the Gap EMTECH April 28, 2023
Regulation Will Always Lag Innovation: How a Regulatory Sandbox can Help Bridge the Gap

Innovation is the backbone of the fintech industry, driving everything from new business models to game-changing technologies. However, as fintech innovation continues to accelerate, the laws and regulations governing the industry struggle to  catch up. Fintechs and regulators are facing a dilemma as a result of this: how to foster innovation while maintaining regulatory compliance?

The truth is that laws and regulations will always lag behind innovation. This is not unique to the Fintech industry – it’s a challenge faced by innovators in every field. The reason is simple: innovation is all about pushing boundaries and breaking new ground. By definition, it takes time for laws and regulations to catch up.

But this lag creates a problem for Fintech executives and central bank regulators. Fintech firms need to innovate quickly to stay ahead of the competition and grow revenue, but legacy regulations can often stifle that innovation. Conversely, regulators want to ensure that the industry is operating in a safe and stable manner, but changes to the rules can take time to be defined, and then adopted thoughtfully for technology that evolves every day.

What if there was a solution to this dilemma? Welcome to the EMTECH Digital Regulatory Sandbox™.

A regulatory sandbox is considered to be a process in which Fintech firms can test their products and services under the supervision of central bank regulators. The goal is to give Fintech firms room to innovate while meeting minimal levels of compliance with supervision. 

The benefits of regulatory sandboxes are numerous. For Fintech firms, they provide a path to experiment with new ideas and technologies without fear of regulatory repercussions. For financial regulators like central banks, they offer a way to embrace innovation as part of financial services, stay informed about emerging trends in the industry and identify potential risks early on.

But how do regulatory sandboxes work in practice? Typically, Fintech firms must apply to participate in a regulatory sandbox, outlining the product or service they wish to test and the potential risks involved. If accepted, the Fintech firm will be granted certain regulatory exemptions or waivers, allowing them to bring their product or service to market even if there’s no dedicated regulatory framework in place.

Throughout the sandbox process, the central bank regulator receives and monitors data sent from Fintech firm’s activities, evaluating the risks and ensuring that they remain compliant to the end. This allows Fintech firms to iterate, improve and even grow their product or service during the sandbox period.

The success stories of regulatory sandboxes are emerging. In the UK, for example, the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox has supported the development of innovative products such as mobile payments apps and peer-to-peer lending platforms. Similarly, Singapore’s regulatory sandbox has facilitated the development of blockchain-based solutions for cross-border payments.

Regulatory sandboxes are not a panacea for the challenges facing the Fintech industry, but they fill a regulatory gap for fintech supervision and compliance, and they do offer a way to bridge innovation and regulation. 

In conclusion, the Fintech industry is facing challenges as laws and regulations struggle to keep pace with innovation. However, regulatory sandboxes offer a way to bridge the gap between innovation and regulation. By providing a clear and modern process for Fintech firms to launch their products and services in the market, regulators can closely monitor their activities. Regulatory sandboxes can facilitate innovation while waiting for formal regulation. As the Fintech industry continues to evolve, regulatory sandboxes will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in shaping its future.

EMTECH aims to be at the forefront of innovation that links fintechs and regulators with its Digital Regulatory Sandbox™. We offer a platform that connects central banks and fintechs for regulatory services as well as access CBDC services. For more information or questions about our platform, Simply book a call here to schedule a meeting with us!