Georgetown Law Hosts First Annual Fintech Week

October 27, 2017

At Fintech Week, IIEL Faculty Director Chris Brummer (left) shakes hands with Christopher Woolard, Executive Board Member and Director of Strategy & Competition, Financial Conduct Authority United Kingdom.

Georgetown Law’s Institute of International Economic Law hosted its inaugural Fintech Week October 18-20. Nearly 500 participants, including tech entrepreneurs, general counsel, regulators and law enforcement officials met to discuss topics ranging from bitcoin and peer-to-peer lending to big data, money laundering and international regulatory coordination.

The conference was organized by IIEL Faculty Director Chris Brummer, and cosponsored by Thomson Reuters and the NEX Group. The objective, Brummer said, was “really quite modest: to provide a safe space for regulators, entrepreneurs and thought leaders to engage in serious, frank discussions relating to risks and rewards of new technologies that are changing market ecosystems across the world.”

The idea caught on, with scores of powerhouse firms opting to participate over three full days of discussions. General counsel from Lending Club, SoFi and OnDeck participated alongside an executive from Kabbage answering questions from former Assistant Secretary of Financial institutions Michael Barr about the industry’s newest developments for consumers.

Crowdfunders later debated the effectiveness of the JOBS Act and its implications for the cryptocurrency market, while executives from firms as diverse as R3, Ripple and Axoni took time to demystify distributed ledger technologies and virtual currencies.

Money laundering and cybersecurity were also highlighted throughout the program. K2 Intelligence CEO Jeremy Kroll provided the conference’s first keynote on protecting corporate and government information in an era of digital information technologies. Technologists and lawyers from Paypal, Sayari Analytics, Capitol One and Thomson Reuters reflected on money laundering alongside one of the FBI’s top cybercrime officials. The theme was picked up again on a panel on digital currencies moderated by former CFTC Chair Jim Newsome, while Amazon, DTCC and Cloud 9 Technologies expounded on the importance and complexity of navigating varying data regimes across the globe.

The event ended with a panel moderated by Georgetown alum Rich Kerschner on venture capital investments and future trends with JPMorgan, QED, DRW Venture Capital and the Fintech Collective.

“I was particularly impressed with the buy-in from the regulatory community as well.” Brummer added. “Dozens of staffers from regulatory agencies signed up, plus we had keynotes from top Republican and Democratic officials from the OCC, CFTC, SEC and the Treasury Department. Even the United Kingdom’s top fintech official flew in from London, along with key personnel from the European Union. It was a smashing success—and we’re looking forward to another great conference next year.”