Reserve Bank establishes financial technology programme

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Reserve Bank has established a programme that will assess the emergence of technologies applied to financial services.

“… the SARB recently established the Financial Technology (FinTech) Programme to strategically assess the emergence of FinTech in a structured and organised manner, and to consider its regulatory implications,” said the central bank on Tuesday.

The main goal of the programme is to track and analyse FinTech developments and to assist policymakers in formulating frameworks in response to these emerging innovations.

The central bank describes FinTech as technologies applied to financial services with the potential to disrupt current business models, applications, processes or products.

In order to evaluate the regulatory implications of these innovations, a framework is used to assess the impact of these developments in terms of the underlying economic function or activity performed, for example deposit taking, payments, lending and investments, as opposed to the specific entity or technology being used.

The programme will focus on three primary objectives with the first being the review the Reserve Bank’s position on private cryptocurrencies to inform an appropriate policy framework and regulatory regime.

This review will address regulatory issues such as clearing and settlement risks, exchange control impacts, monetary policy and financial stability, and other matters such as cybersecurity. The Reserve Bank expects to complete the review in the second half of 2018.

The second objective is to investigate and decide on the applicability of innovation facilitators for the Reserve Bank. “Innovation facilitators” is a collective term for innovation hubs, regulatory sandboxes and accelerators.

The bank hopes to have concluded its assessment of the appropriateness of innovation facilitators by the third quarter of 2018.

The third objective is to launch Project Khokha which will experiment with distributed ledger technologies (DLTs). The aim of this project is to gain a practical understanding of DLTs through the development of a proof of concept (POC) in collaboration with the banking industry.

The objective of the POC is to replicate interbank clearing and settlement on a DLT which will allow the SARB and industry to jointly assess the potential benefits and risks of DLTs. –

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