Recently, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of local financial supervision and Administration said that it was the first to launch the pilot of financial science and technology innovation supervision in China and explore the construction of an inclusive and prudent Chinese version of “regulatory sandbox”, which was supported by the central bank. Regulatory sandbox and blockchain have once again become the focus of heated discussion. The vitality of technology lies in constantly trying to break the original barriers, liberate productivity and build new business logic, but this may form a confrontation with the existing regulatory system. In the past ten years of development, regular companies have difficulty in continuously investing in R & D in the face of policy risks. The blockchain core technology team has moved to gray areas everywhere to avoid supervision and create potential risks. The regulatory sandbox provides a soft sand in which innovation subjects can climb and roll without fear of injury; The regulatory body can observe the footprints on the sand and easily smooth the potholes left by failure.

The term “blockchain” comes from the style of the underlying data structure of the bitcoin system. Now it is used to refer to the technology and system that can operate data without authorization and endorsement of the trust center. Blockchain technology is not a single information technology, but an open system distributed ledger jointly maintained by a series of related technologies and theories. Its core feature is to realize the trusted flow of data without trust. From a technical point of view, blockchain technology is committed to creating a “strong security mechanism under an open architecture” to ensure the overall security and stability of the system through game mechanism and consensus algorithm.

The brutal growth of the blockchain industry gave birth to the regulatory sandbox. According to the summary of the UK financial conduct authority (FCA) in 2015, firstly, some financial technology companies focus on avoiding regulation. These technologies are not artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of things and cloud computing, but blockchain technology. Secondly, formal financial institutions are afraid of competition and are unwilling to open data interfaces and business scenarios. Instead, they build technical barriers to prevent new technologies from entering the mainstream market. Third, regulators are very unfamiliar with new technologies, let alone how to regulate them. From the beginning, the regulatory sandbox is actually a learning mechanism, not a regulatory mechanism. Its most important purpose is to encourage innovation under the national regulatory system. Specifically, it includes three aspects. First, let traditional financial companies participate in new blockchain technologies and evaluate the benefits of these technologies; Second, let the blockchain technology return to the right direction and no longer evade supervision; Third, research and develop regulatory technology and use technology to regulate technology.

Under the supervision sandbox 1.0 mode, the government plays a leading role in the sandbox, formulates the sandbox business process and various technical standards, and needs to give evaluation opinions on the test items. With the continuous iteration of technology, integration and innovation and the extension of business logic, the regulatory sandbox faces more and more challenges. First, update the knowledge base and talent reserve in time, and the process and system need to be iterated continuously. In the face of controversial projects, Sandbox can accurately judge whether they have technological innovation, and can conduct efficient screening. We can neither include obsolete technologies nor shut out new technology trends. Secondly, to avoid the subjectivity of evaluation, we need to introduce transparent, scientific, systematic and objective test and evaluation tools. Whether financial science and technology innovation can bring benefits to customers and the market belongs to commercial prediction, and there is subjectivity to a certain extent. Third, establish a complete and traceable project database to ensure the accuracy of sandbox test results. Sandbox evaluation has high commercial value. The government not only needs to correctly guide market expectations, but also needs to prove its innocence to avoid benefit transmission.

Blockchain technology assisted supervision sandbox upgrade version 2.0. Regulatory sandbox 2.0 distinguishes the functions of sandbox into system supervision and technology supervision, uses the process of regulatory sandbox 1.0 to exercise the function of system supervision, uses industrial sandbox to test and evaluate, and gives objective evaluation criteria. In regulatory sandbox 2.0, the government is responsible for two things, formulating regulatory policies and issuing evaluation reports. The authorized industrial sandbox system obtains the test results scientifically and objectively according to its own complete ecology. Therefore, the report comes, and the evaluation process is well documented. The workload of industrial sandbox technology supervision is very huge, almost equal to that of leading enterprises operating an industry. Regulatory sandbox 2.0 is likely to hand over part of the industrial sandbox to special sandbox companies and foundations. The government is still directly involved in the supervision of sandbox. In fact, the detailed standards should be given by the association or sandbox organization.

In the regulatory sandbox 2.0 stage, due to the entry of the industrial sandbox, the relationship between regulation and enterprises will be closer. How to avoid benefit transmission has become a difficult problem. By using blockchain technology and publishing test reports on the chain, the government, industrial sandbox operators, test enterprises and even more participants can receive test reports at the same time. In this case, cheating is impossible. Furthermore, we can use blockchain technology to transform the regulatory sandbox, set up the role of regulatory nodes at the bottom, and supervise key nodes. If problems are found, we can use the characteristics of blockchain technology to trace back step by step, which can better promote KYC compliance and anti money laundering, anti-terrorism and anti tax evasion. In addition, for particularly important governance principles, rules can be written into the bottom layer of the blockchain and smart contracts. At the consensus level, relevant data can be forcibly disclosed to government regulatory nodes. These explorations are also important explorations for regulatory Technology (regtech).

Responsible editor: CT

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