FDIC seeks blockchain and DLT expert as legal counsel

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is looking for a new legal counsel to analyze and advise the agency on matters relating to financial technology. The successful applicant will, among other duties, serve as an expert and resource for the FDIC on blockchain, smart contracts and related payment systems.

In its job posting, the agency stated that the position is in its Legal Division’s Financial Technology and Innovation Group. The position provides advice and assistance in connection with legal issues that arise from digital technologies.

The successful applicant will serve as FDIC’s recognized subject matter expert and resource in “blockchain, blockchain settlement systems, and distributed ledger development; smart contracts, utility settlement coins, and, in general, payments systems, and clearing and settlement.”

Other areas that the legal counsel will provide expert advice on include bank customer-facing digital solutions, cloud computing and other cloud-based services, machine learning and artificial intelligence, consumer data privacy laws and regtech.

The FDIC is a government agency that provides deposit insurance for U.S. banks. It first became involved in the digital currency industry in March last year when digital currency dealer SFOX announced that it had partnered with New York-based M.Y Safra Bank to offer state-insured bank accounts for traders. The partnership granted SFOX traders FDIC insurance worth up to $250,000, a first in the industry at the time.

Other service providers in the digital currency industry have since then gone on to attain FDIC insurance for their customers’ assets. Coinbase, for instance, holds its customers’ funds in custodial accounts at U.S. banks which are in turn insured by the FDIC. Such accounts have pass-through FDIC insurance up to the per-depositor coverage limit which is currently at $250,000.

While it insures some digital currency custodial accounts, the FDIC is less than enthusiastic regarding digital currencies. The FDIC chair Jelena McWilliams has in the past stated, “There are certain developments, such as the crypto assets, that have the possibility to undermine the whole central banking system of a country.”

In the interview, McWilliams insisted that her agency wouldn’t discourage digital currency innovation. However, on the other hand, she revealed that she wouldn’t back digital currencies before she fully understands the implications for the consumers.

See also: CoinGeek Live panel on Future of Digital Asset Security & Custody

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