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UK Government Announces New Cryptocurrency Research Effort

Britain’s junior finance minister, John Glen, announced Monday that the government will launch new research aimed to explore the potential risks posed by cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

According to a Reuters report, the minister said:

“In our upcoming fintech strategy, the government will announce further work with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England to consider these issues in more detail. … The UK is the best place in the world for fintech and my mandate is to ensure it remains such.”

Speaking at the Innovate Finance conference in London, Glen specifically cited concerns about the repercussions arising from the “explosive growth” of cryptocurrencies. At the same time, he said he aims to safeguard London’s position as a leading global hub for fintech experimentation and blockchain technologies.

Glen added that 2017 was a record-breaking year for the U.K.’s fintech sector, attracting investments worth £1.3 billion (roughly $1.8 billion). More than half of those funds reportedly came from abroad, a clear motivation for British regulators to continue welcoming blockchain projects.

Beyond the private sector, the Bank of England (BoE) is perhaps one of the world’s most bullish central banks when it comes to cryptocurrency.

In December 2017, the central bank’s chief, Mark Carney, said in December 2017 that bitcoin’s price moves don’t appear to threaten global economic stability.

And, last April, the BoE – which also runs a fintech accelerator that welcomes blockchain firms – said it planned to build the next version of its settlement system with distributed ledger tech in mind.

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