The UK Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin, has recently reiterated the government’s pledge to investigate the digital currency possibilities by investing £10m in distributed ledger technology research.
Distributed ledger technology
“The government has launched a research initiative which will bring together the Research Councils, Alan Turing Institute and Digital Catapult with industry, in order to address the research opportunities and challenges for distributed ledger technology. And we will increase research funding in this area by £10 million to support this,” she said in a statement.
She went on to highlight the potential benefits of the technology which include the possibility of facilitating the fast, efficient, and secure transfer of ownership of digital assets – including bonds, shares, and other financial instruments, over the internet, and the function of digitally ‘signing’ and time-stamping digital assets – helping maintain records of digital documents securely and efficiency.
The research into digital channels was first kickstarted by the Chancellor, who revealed last summer the government’s intention of starting a major programme of work exploring the potential of virtual currencies and digital money.
“We’re working hard to create the right regime for digital currencies – one which is right for digital currency businesses, attracting overseas investors to the UK and users,” the Secretary added.
She went on to point out that the UK’s commitment to bring digital currency exchanges into regulation has been welcomed by industry, and it’s already resulted in digital currency businesses relocating to the UK, citing companies such as Circle as examples.
UK’s FinTech scene
Baldwin also praised the UK for being the fastest growing region in the world for FinTech, saying that investment in the UK & Ireland grew 136 per cent in 2014, reaching £410 million – accounting for 42 per cent of all European FinTech investment. She also pointed out that the country’s GDP was £20 billion greater as a result of the sector’s activities.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury went on to mention the future launch of an international FinTech benchmarking exercise, which would look at how the UK compares to other countries, and where the country can learn from other people’s best practice.
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