The Regulatory Genome Project (RGP) emerged from a collaboration in 2018 between the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) in the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School and the Omidyar Network Fund, now Flourish Ventures . Flourish challenged the CCAF to use its expertise in fintech regulation to address a recurring problem Flourish was observing in its portfolio of fintech firms located around the world: fintechs were incurring significant costs paying regulatory experts to analyse the regulatory obligations of the countries to which they were considering expanding their activities. Flourish’s belief was that these costs could be significantly reduced if fintechs could access an easy-to-use regulation search tool, and it agreed to fund a pilot project for the development of such a search tool (called RegSimple). The CCAF engaged Ted Briscoe, a Professor in the Natural Language and Information Processing Group based in the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge, to advise on building a repository of machine-readable anti-money laundering (AML) regulation to be used in the pilot.
In 2019, RegSimple evolved to address the needs of financial services regulators, particularly those in emerging and developing economies. Technological innovation is accelerating the pace of regulatory change, straining the capacity of regulators to benchmark their regulations against other jurisdictions to assess adherence to global regulatory standards or analyse the relative stringency of regulatory obligations. In December 2019, the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office provided grant funding to the CCAF to increase the functionality of the RegSimple tool and expand the repository of machine readable regulation which can be searched. The CCAF expects to introduce the RegSimple tool to regulators in several developing economies before the end of 2020.
The Regulatory Genome is now entering a phase of development focused on building a comprehensive open repository of machine-readable financial services regulation as a public good. The project will also provide application developers with the tools and services needed to easily build and distribute applications using the code and data in the RGP repository.
In December 2020, the University of Cambridge officially announced the launch of the project and its mission to sequence the world’s regulatory text through machine learning.
We will be announcing more details about the RGP and the partners and collaborators involved in the project over the course of the coming months.
 Flourish Ventures is a venture firm of the Omidyar Group.