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How The UK Sets The Tone For Bitcoin Innovation

The manner in which bitcoin regulation is managed across the U.S. — and across the world — varies drastically, but there’s one region of the world where bitcoin innovation is moving quicker than the rest.

The U.K., which already has the title of being the financial hub of Europe, is attempting to expand that title to include the financial hub of bitcoin. And this comes with the support from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is reportedly working on a trade mission that includes a bitcoin company, Blockchain.

While the British Government hasn’t formed a specific stance of managing bitcoin as a currency, there has been plenty of support for blockchain innovation in the region. For the most part, bitcoin’s good and bad aspects have been recognized by groups like the Bank of England, which has openly supported the digital currency.

The British government has also been a strong proponent on digital currencies, as long as it can regulate them, as a method to prevent money-laundering and illegal trading. Like other bitcoin and cryptocurrency proponents, supporters in the U.K. have spoken about the possibilities of extending the blockchain’s uses — particularly because of the efficient and cost-effective manner money can be traded via the technology.

“While existing private digital currencies have economic flaws which make them volatile, the distributed ledger technology that their payment systems rely on may have considerable promise,” the Bank of England wrote in February, TechCrunch reported.

The tech enthusiasts are also leading the charge to make London the “real-world hub” for the trade of cryptocurrencies, and bitcoin seems to be the first logical step, as well as the technology that powers it: the blockchain. Bitcoin and digital currency already have a strong following — like the 2,200 member group called CoinScrum — which gets together to talk about ideas for how to evolve the market.

“London has been the home of financial innovation for hundreds of years,” Nicolas Cary, co-founder of the bitcoin wallet service Blockchain, told Reuters. “It would be a historical mistake not to make this the home of digital currencies. There’s an incredible amount of talent and experience here.”

And in terms of working with bitcoin regulators in the U.K., Blockchain CEO Peter Smith told TechCrunch in an interview said he felt regulation talks were headed in the right direction.

“We’ve been working pretty closely with Number 10 and the policy makers in the U.K. generally. I think the invitation is a reflection of the positive relationship and the Prime Minister’s dedication to fintech, and especially fintech 2.0,” he said in the interview. “Recently they committed £10 million in budget to study this stuff. [Chancellor of the Exchequer] Osborne has made a lot of public comments supporting bitcoin publicly — we expect a regulatory framework soon.”

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