by Conor Brennan on 04 Jun 2014
Last week the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is responsible for UK financial regulation, outlined plans to launch a policy hub for start-up companies including those in the virtual currency sector. Head of the FCA, Martin Wheatley (pictured), stated “it’s an imperative for the regulators to be standing on the right side of progress”.
He confirmed a policy hub would be created within the FCA to advise start-ups on compliance and regulatory frameworks and look at where this framework needs to adapt for new technology. Wheatley revealed that talks had already begun with start-ups, as well as organisations including Tech City UK and Level 39.
To specifically highlight the growth of virtual currency start-ups is a definite change in approach by UK regulators. Regulatory bodies have previously been happy to keep the sector on the sidelines, fearing the unknown, but virtual currencies are now coming under the umbrella of innovative start-ups, which also include P2P technologies and Fintech.
Canada, the second most popular country for Bitcoin investment, is also debating how government can promote the growth of virtual currencies. In a recent report from the Montreal Economic Institute, the think tank called for a clear set of rules to bolster confidence and boost adoption, and thus promoting investment.
Could this be the start of a friendly relationship between virtual currency providers and regulators? We are undoubtedly seeing a growth in regulation of virtual currencies. However, this will bring pressure for financial authorities to clarify their position, and also presents an opportunity to promote and work with the sector and move towards a mass market adoption.
Conor is an experienced consultant who advises clients in the data economy, insur-tech, and energy sectors.
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