The U.K. is gearing up to delve more into the world of cryptocurrencies by announcing a new task force that will look at the benefits and risks of digital tokens.
CNBC, citing the Treasury, the UK finance department, reported the task force will be made up of the Bank of England, Britain's central bank and the Financial Conduct Authority, a watchdog government agency. Cryptocurrencies, which are unregulated, have been an issue for governments around the world as they seek ways to regulate the market. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney earlier this month said there is a need for more regulation of the market due to its price volatility and speculative nature. Meanwhile, CNBC noted that Andrew Bailey, the head of the Financial Conduct Authority, has previously warned that investors will lose all their money with cryptocurrency investing.
CNBC noted the task force is part of a broad strategy focused on financial technology, or FinTech. As part of that initiative, CNBC said it will sign a FinTech bridge deal with Australia that lets U.K. FinTechs sell products and services in Australia. The idea is for the two countries to cooperate on creating rules and regulations for the FinTech market. Britain’s FinTech industry body, Innovate Finance, and Australia’s FinTech industry body, FinTech Australia, will hold regular meetings to advise the governments in both countries on FinTech issues. Innovate Finance head Charlotte Crosswell told CNBC that the FinTech bridge deal provides an “excellent opportunity” for Britain and Australia to share their knowledge about the FinTech industry with each other.
In addition to the FinTech bridge and the task force on cryptocurrency, the Treasury said it is looking to create industry-wide standards that make bank and FinTech partnerships happen more easily. “I am committed to helping the sector grow and flourish, and our ambitious sector strategy sets out how we will ensure the U.K. remains at the cutting edge of the digital revolution,” U.K. Finance Minister Philip Hammond said in a statement to CNBC. “As part of that, a new task force will help the U.K. to manage the risks around crypto assets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology.”