Across the world, there have been scrambles taking place by the authorities to get comprehensive regulations and oversight controls in place for the digital currency sector. Announced March 22, the UK will set up a cryptocurrency ‘task force.’
A number of regulatory agencies were caught on the back foot with the explosion in growth of cryptocurrency during 2017. They are only now starting to get to grips with everything and slowly rolling out their updated legislation.
In the United Kingdom, they have just set up their own task force for cryptocurrency according to CNBC and various other outlets, including the UK’s Independent. The move is part of a larger strategy the UK government has for financial technology (fintech).
What are the Details about this New Task Force?
The new task force was announced by the UK’s Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and its goal is to determine what benefits and risks are associated with cryptocurrencies. The work done by the task force will allow the government to determine to what extent they will get involved with blockchain and digital currencies.
Participants in this task force include people from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (BoE). Hammond, stated, “we will ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of the digital revolution… a new task force will help the UK to manage the risks around cryptoassets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology.”
Both of these groups will also be helping move Britain towards a more automated financial compliance system. This is not just a single task force; it is part of a comprehensive fintech strategy being rolled out by the government.
What Future Plans does the UK Have for FinTech?
The UK has just entered into an agreement with Australia which will allow UK-based fintech companies to sell their products and services over in Australia. It also has the goal of enhancing the cooperation levels when it comes to regulations and policies in the fintech industry.
It is clear that the UK government wants to make themselves as one of the leaders in the fintech sector and this includes embracing cryptocurrencies in some shape or fashion. The extent of this participation will depend on the findings from the task force.
Hammond was speaking at a fintech conference in London, which had been organized by the finance department and he spoke about their ultimate aim when it came to fintech. There was also mention of “robo-regulation,” where software would be created to allow companies to comply with new rules automatically.
Currently, he said there is a new tech startup created in the UK each hour, and they want to cut this down to every half an hour, which is an ambitious goal. If this objective is achieved, it will certainly place the UK up there with the global leaders in fintech.
Task Force Follows Carney’s Negative Comments
Cryptocurrencies have always been approached with caution in the UK, with the BoE Governor, Mark Carney, asking for more comprehensive regulations on the sector during the past month.
Carney referred to the price volatility in the crypto markets as being “speculative mania,” and he was of the belief that bitcoin had “pretty much failed” in its attempts to be a significant form of money.
Whatever happens, it is inevitable that more widespread regulations come into place at some stage in 2018 and the new crypto task force may soften the stance many key officials in the UK currently have when it comes to this sector.