March 23, 2018 // 9 a.m.
The UK government has announced the launch of the first 'Cryptoassets Task Force', with the remit of guarding citizens against the risks of cryptocurrencies and related technologies while ensuring the country can still harness their benefits.
Announced this week as part of the government's first 'Fintech [Financial Technology] Sector Strategy', the task force - comprised of the HM Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), will have under its remit attempts at controlling and harnessing the growth of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, including but not limited to Bitcoin, initial coin offerings (ICOs), tokens, and asset-related blockchain implementations.
'From the square mile in London to Scotland’s Silicon Glen, the UK leads the world in harnessing the power of fintech as we create an economy fit for the future,' claims Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond of the launch. 'I am committed to helping the sector grow and flourish, and our ambitious Sector Strategy sets out how we will ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of the digital revolution. As part of that, 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.'
The Task Force is only part of the government's plans to boost fintech adoption in the UK, however: The Fintech Sector Strategy plan also includes pilot schemes of 'robo-regulation', whereby compliance is assured through software rather than manual rules-checking; the appointment of three new Fintech Regional Envoys; the creation of a set of industry standards making it easier for fintech firms to partner with traditional banks; the removal of selected barriers to the creation of new fintech firms offering complex financial services; and a Connect with Work programme aimed at allowing fintech firms better access to the UK's diverse workforce. A Fintech Bridge agreement with Scott Morrison, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, has also been confirmed, allowing UK companies to operate in Australia.
'We are determined to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business while giving consumers more choice when it comes to managing their money,' claims Digital and Culture Secretary Matt Hancock. 'This new nationwide fintech programme will help startups right across the country flourish in the future and spread the benefits of this pioneering technology.'