The term “regulatory sandbox” refers to a scheme whereby enterprises can test, in a live-like environment, regulatory compliance and security solutions in the area of fintech. It is meant to enable business from the highly innovative, but also risk-prone, sectors, to test new solutions with real clients, and is a gesture of positive approach and openness to new technologies on the part of governments that offer it. President of the Polish financial regulatory body (KNF) Marek Chrzanowski has just announced the speeding-up of implementation of this kind of initiative.
This decision was revealed during the Economic Forum in Krynica, and the regulatory sandbox for Polish fintech start-ups is to be opened within the coming weeks. The news came as a positive surprise, as it had been previously announced that the earliest possible time for the launching of such an initiative would be beginning of the next year, to be preceded by the launch of a so-called virtual sandbox – according to the official information given by the head of KNF’s fintech department Artur Granicki. Moreover, a new approach of the Polish authorities could be inferred from the fact that the said department posted advertisements for positions of specialists dealing with the analysis of projects submitted as part of the would-be sandbox. A foretaste of that is Innovation Hub – a procedure that has been operating as part of KNF since the beginning of this year, designed to assist Polish fintech companies in applying for relevant licenses.
During the Forum, President of KNF also pointed out that fintech start-ups, as well as mature institutions focused on investing in new technologies, should be provided with best conditions to develop dynamically to be able to compete with the rest of the world. He stressed that if Poland wishes to export something, worthy products must be developed first – hence the speeding-up.
According to the Minister of Investment and Development – Jerzy Kwieciński, who also participated in the Forum, fintech solutions should become a Polish speciality and also that larger companies ought to promote growth amongst start-ups. He claimed that whenever demand is created, even by a single bigger enterprise, this leads to the development of businesses that operate on the fringes as contractors and providers of new technologies. It remains to be seen whether KNF’s contradictory attitude towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain will also change as a result of that announcement. We wrote in a separate article about a media campaign launched before by the Polish financial watchdog, in which it warns Poles about investments in cryptocurrencies and Forex, lumping them together under the category of Ponzi schemes.
It is worth noticing that similar initiatives have been deployed recently by the British Financial Conduct Authority, which has announced that it is creating the Global Financial Innovation Network – GFIN, in cooperation with other 11 regulatory bodies and related entities. Ealier this year, news came out about proposed establishement of regulatory sandbox in Britain.