Government Boosts Fintech Sector With Cryptocurrency Task Force

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The government’s first Fintech Sector Strategy aims to boost domestic financial tech companies ahead of Brexit

The government is to form a task force to explore the use of cryptocurrency-related technologies such as blockchain, as part of a broader strategy to boost the growing financial technology (fintech) sector.

The moves are all the more pressing as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, which is also taking measures to make itself more attractive to finance start-ups.

Speaking at the government’s International Fintech Conference in London, chancellor Phillip Hammond said the new strategy would make it “faster and easier” for British firms to comply with regulations while expanding abroad.

A ‘crypto-assets’ task force included in the government’s first Fintech Sector Strategy will include elements from the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

‘Robo-regulation’

“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,” Hammond said in a statement.

The strategy also includes other domestic steps and overseas agreements.

Hammond introduced ‘robo-regulation’ schemes that allow firms to use software to help financial services comply with regulations, saying the systems would help companies save time and money.

New standards will make it easier for fintech firms to work with banks to offer complex services and reach more customers. The government and industry are also to create “shared platforms” to make it easier for fintech firms to set up new systems.

Hammond and Australian treasurer Scott Morrison signed a ‘fintech bridge’ agreement to give British fintech companies better access to the Australian market while cooperating with regulators.

A scheme called Connect with Work, developed by the Fintech Delivery Panel, aims to help fintech companies take advantage of the UK’s diverse workforce.

“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,” Hammond said.

Digital and culture secretary Matt Hancock added that the government wants to make the UK “the best place to start and grow a digital business” while giving individuals more choice around managing their money.

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