Federalism and Federalization on the Fintech Frontier

78 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017 Last revised: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Brian Knight

Brian Knight

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 8, 2017


The rise of financial technology (fintech) has the potential to provide better-quality financial services to more people. Although these enhanced financial services have arisen to meet consumer need, their regulatory status threatens that progress. Many fintech firms are regulated on a state-by-state basis even though their transactions are interstate, and they compete with firms that enjoy more consistent rules through federal preemption. This dynamic can harm efficiency, competitive equity, and political equity. This paper looks at developments in marketplace lending, money transmission, and online sales of securities in an attempt to identify situations in which greater federalization of the rules may be justified. It also considers a situation in which the federal government should abstain from intervening, even if it has the right to do so. Whether the states or federal government should take the lead in regulating fintech is an emerging and important question whose answer will affect the financial lives of consumers and investors. This paper seeks to begin a conversation about how we determine whether federalism or federalization is appropriate.

Keywords: Financial Technology, Financial Innovation, Financial Regulation, Banking, Federalism, Federalization, Fintech, Lending, Securities, Money Transmission

JEL Classification: K2, K4, K3, K1, K0, O1, O3, H7

Suggested Citation

Knight, Brian, Federalism and Federalization on the Fintech Frontier (March 8, 2017). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law, Vol. 20, Issue 1, 2017, Mercatus Working Paper, March 2017 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2928985

Brian Knight (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://https://www.mercatus.org/brian-knight

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