Chris Larsen, chief executive of prominent Fintech startup Ripple has, in the lead-in to the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, called for the next president to appoint a Fintech advisor.
The polling stations for the upcoming U.S. elections are now weeks away from opening to appoint the next U.S. president. Until now, there has been little or no talk of Fintech innovation as policy talk and that isn’t likely to change in the coming weeks.
With this in mind, Ripple executive Chris Larsen, the CEO of a startup that is arguably among the most prominent and certainly well-funded Fintech firms has called for the next president to appoint a specialist Fintech advisor.
Larsen drew parallels between the ever-increasing foray of financial institutions and even central banks researching and developing blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions, to the days in the early 90s when the internet gained prominence.
Underlining the coming years to herald the formation of a new internet, he sees financial technology as its foundation. Larsen said:
Innovators are building the Internet of Value: a system that moves money as seamlessly as information.
Larsen points to proactive strides taken in the 90s when cooperation between Silicon Valley and Washington helped drive adoption of technology and the internet. The regulation and framework created for electronic commerce from the White House is the model that is now adopted globally, Larsen opined. These early moves helped the U.S. settle upon the driver’s seat in “developing the internet and [the] resulting digital economy”, Larsen added.
However, the executive – while obviously enthused for the wave of Fintech disruption – argued that the United States does not hold that early adopter advantage this time around.
These are “crucial nascent stages” in the Fintech era, the executive says, days that are already fraught with “significant disadvantages” from an American perspective. He points to the core U.S. establishments of finance, regulation and technology seeing “key philosophical differences”. Even geographical distances prove a distinct disadvantage, argued Larsen, pointing to the competition.
Other global fintech hubs like London and Singapore enjoy physical and ideological proximity, and can consequently concentrate their efforts more easily than we can. This race is theirs to win.
Larsen’s pitch for a Fintech advisor is to ultimately make a concentrated effort in easing regulation and encouraging startups to usher in blockchain infrastructure that even traditional banking executives see as transformative.
In today’s information era bought on by the Internet, the United States government has created and appointed industry experts for specialized positions.
For instance, the E-Government Act of 2002 saw the creation of the Federal Chief Information Office of the United States, a position that had the appointed CIO oversee federal technology spending, federal IT policy and strategic planning across Federal government. A notable directive issued by the U.S. CIO in recent times is the mandate for all publicly accessible Federal websites and web services to switch over to standard-security HTTPS protocol.
Cybersecurity is firmly on the agenda for both candidates and has even proven to be a contentious talking point in a time when mega-breaches see personal details of millions of everyday citizens stolen and leaked on the internet, facilitating crimes like identity theft. Inevitably, a year after the infamous OPM breach that saw millions of records of federal employees’ personal data compromised, the White House appointed its first ever Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) last month in September.
It has to be reiterated that Fintech and the subject of blockchain innovation have not been on the agenda of the two candidates for the U.S. presidency. Only Hillary Clinton’s campaign has fleetingly addressed blockchain technology applications, in a public position on technological innovation from June 2016.
Still, it might only be a matter of time before Larsen’s call for a specialist Fintech advisor comes true.
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