The UK fintech sector contributes £6.6 billion annually to the UK economy and employs over 60,000 people across 1,600 companies, according to the Treasury. Today, Thursday, the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce a new task force looking at cryptocurrencies.
Hammond is delivering a major speech at the Treasury’s second annual International Fintech Conference in London. He will announce a new task force including representatives from the Treasury, the Bank of England, and Britain’s financial watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority.
Hammond will say:
“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,”
The task force follows a similar inquiry set up by the Treasury Select Committee, a Parliamentary scrutiny group, in February. This all comes at a time of increased scrutiny of cryptocurrencies and calls to regulate the space. The G20 this week set a July deadline for recommended cryptocurrency regulation and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US has been cracking down crypto companies in the US.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney called for regulation of the space in a speech earlier this month and warned that the space has the “hallmarks” of a bubble. However, Carney has said that the blockchain tech underpinning cryptocurrencies could be transformational to mainstream finance.
As well as the crypto task force, Hammond is set to announce new measures including “Robo regulation”, which means that new startups will be allowed to write software that follows the law rather than submit to in-depth supervision. There will also be a new UK-Australia “fintech bridge” to help UK firms expand internationally.