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The implications of blockchain technology in the consumer sector will be the focus of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 2017 FinTech Forum in March.
With an announcement on Friday, the half-day event will see industry participants, researchers, government representatives and consumer groups come together on March 9, 2017. This is the third FinTech forum hosted by the US consumer protection agency and the topics of the 2017 edition will look into blockchain technology and artificial intelligence.
The open-to-all event will also see participants discuss and explore the potential benefits of the two technologies in consumer services as well as their implications to consumer protection.
An excerpt from the announcement sees blockchain technology described by the FTC as follows:
Blockchain technology involves a distributed digital ledger for recording transactions that can be shared widely. It first emerged as the foundation for digital currency, and it is now being explored for other consumer-focused uses including payment systems and “smart contracts.”
The underlying focus of its FinTech events, the governmental agency says, is to keep up and encourage newly-developing and emerging financial technologies while protecting consumers protected. Encouraging innovation is key, the FTC says, even as models such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, among others, gain popularity as new forms of finance. Previous editions of the event have focused on marketplace lending and crowdfunding.
The FTC has previously wielded its authority in the bitcoin space in the case of Butterfly Labs. The agency shut down the failed bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer, citing its “unfair or deceptive business practices,” in a civil lawsuit in late 2014. The bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer later agreed to settle charges with the FTC in early 2016.
This year’s FinTech Forum will be held at the University of California in Berkeley at 9 A.M on March 9 with no pre-registration necessary for those attending. The FTC is soliciting invitations for panelists presently and is expected to a full schedule of events soon.
Image of UC Berkeley from Shutterstock.