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国际资讯监管与政策

中期选举落下帷幕,美国金融科技产业将受何影响?

国际资讯监管与政策

中期选举落下帷幕,美国金融科技产业将受何影响?

近些年来,支付和金融服务业享发明浪潮空前绝后,但这种成果受到意识形态驱动的政治气候的威胁,会导致全球、互操作、移动驱动贸易发展的复杂化。

2018年中期选举导致美国立法机构在共和党人和民主党人之间分立化,支付处理规则的管制放松进程将有所放缓,会更加关注消费者保护,而委员会领导层的变革则必然会造成更多僵局。

两党推行的政策声称能够促进创新,但更有可能相互抵消。

以前,在探索跨境支付和电子商务新方式时,使用区块链、移动端、云或应用程序编程接口的开发人员可能不会考虑"美国优先"或"过度控制",但是现在需要考虑这些事情了。

而在深入研究金融科技和支付技术时,美国的宏观政治分歧导致了两党在技术进步和创新定义方面的矛盾,民主党更强的监督态度可能阻碍共和党领导推动市场化的努力,同时共和党的孤立主义会阻碍国际合作和互联网的开放性。

例如,美国财政部长Steven Mnuchin向政府提议向金融科技创业公司提供监管减压。 被称为"沙盒"的柔性监管方法在英国效果还不错,并推动了身份安全技术等领域取得进展。 在美国,更强大的民主党影响力可能会抵消免除监管方面的努力,即使是暂时免除也不可以。

但与此同时,特朗普政府已经为网络中立性划上了一个句号,而大部分新成立的和现有的技术公司都认为网络中立对创新至关重要。像加利福尼亚这样的民主倾向的州希望推动网络中立,受到了联邦政府在法律方面的阻力。民主党重掌众议院赋予了网络中立的国会决议新生命,尽管众议院的任何努力都会在参议院停滞不前或面临否决。可能的结果是在立法机构和法院进行旷日持久的鏖战,任何一方都无法说服对方。

特朗普政府移民立场方面的争执也可能使前进的道路变得艰难。特朗普政府对熟练技术工人移民的限制可能会限制发展多样性,从而损害美国在全球科技市场的竞争力。相比之下,民主党保护技术工人签证的举措可能会导致国际零工经济公司业务发展放缓。

金融科技依赖API和开放数据共享,而数据保护则是政治僵局影响金融科技的另一个领域。预计其他国家将以某种形式借鉴GDPR和PSD2等欧洲规则,但政治僵局已经削弱了预期影响,澳大利亚开放式银行受到政治考虑的阻碍,将无法发展到欧洲水平。

开放数据规则被认为"中间偏左",而在美国毫无疑问会陷入红/蓝断层。然而,分析公司PaymentsSource在本周的政治报道中表示,国会领导人对开放式银行趋势了解还不充分,因此没有成为美国的近期热门话题。

政治对支付创新的拖累超出了美国中期选举的范围,也超出了美国国境。

英国监管沙盒的成功本身就是政治危机的结果,因为英国政府希望金融科技公司在英国脱欧后留在英国。英国脱欧的不确定性依然让金融科技和支付创业公司忧心忡忡,他们必须决定留在英国、前往欧洲其他地区,或迁移部分业务。立陶宛将自己定位为金融科技中心,希望抓住英国脱欧计划的不确定性这一机遇。

脱欧和特朗普主义都以看重国内发展的孤立主义为核心,包括沙盒政策在内,同时推动脱欧和关税等减缓全球主义的国际政策。但随着美国市场的成熟,依赖国际交易推动增长的西方支付公司必须面对印度和中国等重要市场孤立主义政策的阻力。

印度和中国都要求支付公司在本地经营,提供本地支付,而最近印度更是提出了本地数据存储的新要求。尽管这些规则实际上帮助了像Paytm这样的本地支付公司建立移动支付市场,但是依然被定位为安全措施。

由于美国政府游说印度放宽数据存储规则并提高对外部公司的"开放度",印度的举措引起了讽刺性的反应。但对于Mastercard 和 Visa等信用卡品牌,Stripe和PayPal等金融科技公司,以及沃尔玛和亚马逊等零售商,不确定的政治环境是技术和市场发展的另一大障碍,而僵局则是远超其他愿景的巨大阻力。

The payments and financial services industry has enjoyed an unprecedented wave of invention, but the fruits of that labor are threatened by an ideologically driven political climate that complicates the evolution of global, interoperable, mobile-driven commerce.

The 2018 midterm elections split the U.S. legislature between Republicans and Democrats, creating an environment that will slow deregulation for payment processing rules, create an increased focus on consumer protections and a spark a change in committee leadership that’s sure to create more stalemates.

The resulting policies — on both sides — claim to promote innovation but are more likely to cancel each other out.

Developers using blockchain, mobile, the cloud or application programming interfaces may not be thinking about "U.S.-first" or "reining in excess" when pursuing new ways to conduct cross-border payments and e-commerce, but it's something they will need to consider now.

When drilled down to fintech and payment technology, the U.S.'s macro political divide offers competing visions of what constitutes technological progress and innovation, since the Democratic posture toward more oversight is likely to harm GOP-led efforts to push market-based development, while Republican isolationism hinders international cooperation and an open internet.

For example, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has proposed the U.S. government offer regulatory relief to fintech startups. Generally referred to as a “sandbox,” the light-touch regulatory approach has shown progress in the U.K., sparking advancements in areas such as identity security technology. In the U.S., a stronger Democratic influence will likely counter efforts to waiving regulations even temporarily.

But at the same time, the Trump administration has ended net neutrality, which a large portion of new and existing technology companies see as vital to innovation. Democratic-leaning states such as California have attempted to push net neutrality, resulting in legal pushback from the federal government. Democratic control of the House gives congressional action on net neutrality extra life, though any effort in the House would stall in the Senate or face a veto. The likely result is a prolonged battle in legislatures or the courts in which nether vision wins.

Battles over the Trump administration’s immigration stance could also muddy the path forward. The administration's attempts to curtail skilled tech worker immigration could result in less diversity in development, hurting America's competitiveness in the global tech market. But in contrast, a Democratic push to protect the skilled-worker visas could slow business for international gig economy companies.

Data protection is another area where a political stalemate would impair fintechs that rely on APIs and open data sharing. European rules such as GDPR and PSD2 are expected to be taken up in some form in other countries, but political gridlock has already diluted the desired impact, with Australia's move to open banking not going as far as Europe's, hampered by political concerns.

Open data rules are considered “left of center,” and in the U.S. would fall into the predictable red/blue fault line. However, the analysts PaymentsSource contacted for this week’s political coverage suggest congressional leaders were not yet aware enough of the open banking trend to make it a near-term issue in the U.S.

The political drag on payments innovation goes beyond this week's midterm elections in the U.S., and beyond the U.S.

The successful U.K. sandbox is itself a result of a political crisis, as the U.K. government seeks to keep fintech companies from fleeing after the U.K. leaves the European Union. Brexit's uncertainty still hangs over fintech and payment startups, which have to decide to stay in the U.K., leave for other parts of Europe, or migrate portions of their business. That said, Lithuania has also set itself up as a fintech hub, capitalizing on the uncertainty surrounding the U.K.'s Brexit plans.

Both Brexit and Trumpism have a core of isolationism that favors domestic development — including sandboxes — while pushing international policies that slow globalism such as Brexit and tariffs. But western payment companies, which rely on international transactions to boost growth as the U.S. market matures, face headwinds from isolationist policies in important markets such as India and China.

India and China both require a substantial local presence to offer domestic payments, with India's requirement for local data storage a more recent development. These rules are positioned as security measures, though they have the effect of helping local payment companies such as Paytm build mobile payment markets.

India's move has created an ironic response, as the U.S. government lobbies India to ease the data storage rules and become more "open" to outside companies. But for these companies — card brands such as Mastercard and Visa, fintechs such as Stripe and PayPal, and retailers such as Walmart and Amazon — the uncertain political environment is another hurdle to both technology and market development, where stalemate is a greater foe than any particular vision.

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