The Office of Regulatory Relief

Kaitlyn ClarkeRegulatory Relief

The regulatory sandbox is a framework implemented by regulatory authorities, typically in the financial or technological sectors, to allow innovative businesses and startups to test their products, services, or business models in a controlled environment with limited regulatory requirements. 

Utah was the first state to create an industry-agnostic regulatory sandbox in 2021, administered by the Office of Regulatory Relief. The concept of a regulatory sandbox fosters innovation while ensuring consumer protection and compliance with regulatory standards. 

Here are a few items to know about regulatory sandboxes:

Purpose and Objectives:

  • Promoting Innovation: Regulatory sandboxes establish and encourage the development of new and innovative technologies, products, and services that have the potential to benefit consumers and the economy. 
  • Balancing Regulation and Innovation: Sandboxes facilitate innovation and ensure businesses adhere to applicable laws and regulations. 
  • Reducing Barriers: Sandboxes reduce entry barriers for startups and established businesses by temporarily relaxing specific regulatory requirements that could otherwise hinder their growth and experimentation.

Limited Duration and Scope:

  • Regulatory sandboxes operate for a defined period during which participating businesses can test their innovations.
  • The scope of the sandbox may be limited to specific industries, technologies, or types of products and services.

Application and Selection:

  • Businesses interested in participating in a regulatory sandbox must apply and demonstrate how their innovation aligns with its goals. Utah residents visit this link to create a login and apply to the sandbox.
  • Regulatory authorities evaluate applications based on potential benefits, risks, and consumer protection measures. 

Risk Mitigation and Consumer Protection:

  • While some regulatory requirements may be relaxed, certain safeguards are implemented to manage risks and protect consumers.
  • Regulatory authorities may limit the number of customers, transaction amounts, or geographical coverage during the sandbox period.

Close Monitoring and Reporting:

  • Businesses operating within the sandbox are closely monitored by regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with agreed-upon conditions and to assess potential risks.
  • Participants must usually provide regular progress reports and share data on outcomes and user experiences.

Graduation and Exit:

  • At the end of the sandbox period, businesses are expected to have developed a better understanding of the regulatory landscape and have mechanisms to comply with regulations.
  • Successful participants may exit the sandbox and continue their operations in the broader market, subject to full regulatory compliance.

Collaboration and Learning:

  • Regulatory sandboxes often encourage collaboration between businesses, regulators, and stakeholders to share knowledge and insights.
  • Lessons learned from sandbox participants can inform future regulatory decisions and contribute to understanding innovative technologies and business models.

Global Adoption:

  • Regulatory sandboxes have been adopted by various countries worldwide, each with specific regulations and guidelines.
  • Sandboxes are not limited to financial technology and may also encompass areas like health tech, insurance tech, and more.

Regulatory sandboxes strike a delicate balance between innovation and regulatory oversight. While they offer a unique opportunity for startups and established businesses to test and refine their ideas, participants should carefully review the terms and conditions of the sandbox and ensure they are committed to compliance and consumer protection throughout the testing period.

The Office of Regulatory Relief invites residents and businesses to make suggestions regarding laws and regulations that could be modified or eliminated to reduce the regulatory burden born by Utah residents and businesses. For suggestions or questions, please email