Cryptocurrency Research Effort Announced By The UK Government
John Glen, Britain’s junior finance minister, said that the UK government and regulators will look in detail at the potential risks from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Speaking at the Innovate Finance conference in London, Glen said that in their upcoming FinTech strategy, the government will announce further work with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England to consider these issues in more detail.
Glen said there had been an “explosion of growth” in crypto assets like bitcoin, which might pose risks even though the underlying technology has immense potential. He also said that he aims to safeguard London’s position as a leading global hub for FinTech experimentation and blockchain technologies.
“The UK is the best place in the world for FinTech and my mandate is to ensure it remains such,” said Glen, whose remit covers financial services.
The junior finance minister added that the UK’s FinTech sector enjoyed a record year in 2017, with £1.3 billion ($1.8B USD) invested with over half the funding from abroad, and there was no desire to shift gears or resort to complacency.
The UK Treasury Select Committee has already launched an investigation into cryptocurrencies, and its chair said regulation needed to keep up with the pace of change as different countries compete fiercely to attract FinTech firms.
“We don’t want to be dragged into a race to the bottom,” Nicky Morgan said. “Effective regulation is good for the sector and we can learn from other jurisdictions.”
The UK government have so far been fairly calm about cryptocurrencies. In a letter to G-20 central bankers and finance ministers, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said that cryptocurrencies are not risky for the global financial stability, as of today.
“The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time,” Carney said.
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