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UK to launch Cryptocurrency Task Force

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced on Thursday (22nd March 2018) that the government is getting a new cryptocurrency task force designed to make it easier for fintech companies to follow complex regulations.

This cryptocurrency task force will include Britain’s central bank, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), at a time when the digital currency space is facing heightened pressure from governments worldwide seeking more regulation of the decentralized market.

Hammond’s states that this initiative, part of the government’s larger Fintech Sector Strategy will help the UK to manage the risks around Crypto Assets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology. He is also set to announce several other measures relating to the fintech sector more broadly, including the next steps in robo-regulation.

Hammond said he wanted to make the U.K. the “most attractive home” for global fintech firms. “Every hour a new tech business is founded in the U.K. and my aim is to make that every half hour,” the minister said at a fintech conference organized by the Treasury, the UK’s finance department, in London. “Our doors will always be open to the innovators and inventors,” he added.

As the global market is injected with a rush of volatility on fears of a potential trade war, Britain’s new fintech strategy also promises to make stronger ties with Australia, including a recently signed agreement that allows British fintech firms to sell products and services in Australia. The deal called a “fintech bridge” intends to expand collaboration on regulation and policies surrounding the fintech sector and will involve regular summits between the two countries’ fintech industry bodies.

For years, the UK government has been broadly supportive of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies despite increasing calls for regulation for the latter. The task force comes at a time of increased scrutiny of cryptocurrencies and calls to regulate the space.

In this regard, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond says: “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 crypto assets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology.”