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UK ‘Cryptoassets Task Force’ Begins on Positive Note

The UK government’s ‘Cryptoassets Task Force’ met for the first time on 21 May as part of the country’s plan to regulate the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, reported Crowdfund Insider.

One of the functions of the UK government’s task force will be to examine the risks of blockchain technology and mitigate these while examining the benefits of ledger technology in financial services. The Cryptoassets Task Force, consisting of the UK Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been set up for this purpose and is expected to report back in the summer with its findings in a roundtable scheduled for July, according to Bitcoin News.

The previously announced group involves the participation of the FCA, Bank of England (BoE), HM Treasury and other senior government officials. Some of the named participants include Katharine Braddick, director general of financial services at HM Treasury, Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, and Dave Ramsden, deputy governor of the BoE.

Bailey commented on the cryptocurrency status quo in the country saying that he was looking forward to working with both the BoE and the UK Treasury in order to develop policy.

Ramsden started on a positive note focussing on the what he saw as the potential benefits to the financial system on the UK economy:

“This task force will enable us to work closely with the Treasury and the FCA to explore how the opportunities posed by these technologies can be realized, while also tackling the risks arising from crypto assets.”

The task force’s analysis will not be limited to the central bank and regulatory bodies, but will welcome contributions from trade bodies, consumer groups and investors, in order to obtain a broad view of opinion from both government and public institutions.

The UK is known as a driving force in blockchain research and the spread of solutions is being utilized by numerous companies, as the country becomes one of the world’s most significant and dynamic fintech hubs. The government is keen to see further development of non-traditional innovation in the light of this recent progress.

BoE governor Mark Carney has moved over time from a position of claiming that cryptocurrency had “pretty much failed” as a form of money, to recent indications that he was not against innovation provided by cryptocurrencies, stating that regulation could potentially “serve the public better”.

British Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Matt Hancock delivered a speech to the Law Society last month commenting that blockchain technology would have a “monumental impact” on people’s lives in the future.

 

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Mark Carney Repeats Crypto “No Risk” Claims at Canadian Forum

Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney has declared during a speech in Toronto that digital currencies are no risk to the financial environment.

At the Public Policy Forum’s Canada Growth Summit held on 12 April, Carney suggested that digital currencies were “no risk” to the financial world as yet, despite the “huge amount” of illicit activity attached to them. His comments, echoed in a letter he sent to the recent G20 summit in Argentina, argued that as yet, these currencies are no risk as they are not attached to the financial system and still small.

Former Bank of Canada head Carney has continued to push for tighter regulation for cryptocurrencies over past years, suggesting that without regulation they are open to abuse when exchanged against fiat currencies, saying, “there’s plenty of serious abuse or at a minimum, they are very porous to a cyber attack and theft and they just do not meet the standards.”

In Carney’s home country, the Bank of Canada as recently stated that globally aligned policies governing cryptocurrencies are needed. The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) stated this month that it was currently gathering information on several cryptocurrency trading platforms after receiving complaints about their activities.

This OSC move comes amid the rise of exchanges to trade digital currencies, as well as initial coin offerings to launch new ones. Sharp rises in prices for the new currencies last year created an upsurge of interest in Canadian startups.

The Bank of England governor has always been skeptical about introducing digital currencies into the financial system. He stated earlier this year that the cryptocurrency ecosystem could be incorporated if the same regulatory approach and “rigorous standard” used in conventional financial systems were applied to cryptocurrencies.

Carney’s views on cryptocurrencies have softened in recent months, commenting recently that digital currencies like Bitcoin should be regarded as assets.

 

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Possible Boost to UK Cryptocurrency After Positive Government Comments

UK government comments made on 22 March at the UK Treasury’s International Fintech Conference indicate that the UK government sees regulation as a way of enabling a “stable” cryptocurrency exchange in the City of London.

UK city minister John Glen’s comments suggested that regulation could be a “significant boost”  to the local cryptocurrency industry should the government be able to find an appropriate level of regulation. Although it’s unclear exactly what an appropriate level will look like in real terms, such discussions regarding boosting the cryptocurrency industry might be viewed by the industry as positive language. John Glen was quick to point out that current levels of trading activity posed no significant risk to the economy.

Speaking at the conference, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, launched the Fintech Sector Strategy, designed to further trading relations with Australia. A major factor in this potential partnership includes understanding emerging technologies such as blockchain and harnessing their potential.

One of the functions of the UK government’s task force will be to examine the risks of blockchain technology and mitigate these while examining the benefits of ledger technology in financial services. The Cryptocurrency Task  Force,  consisting of the UK Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority has been set up for this purpose and is expected to report back in the summer with its findings.

Such calls for regulation were made last week by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, when he discussed the impact of cryptocurrencies’ core technology indicating that he was not against innovation provided by cryptocurrencies, stating that regulation could potentially “serve the public better”. This following his comments that cryptocurrency “had pretty much failed” as a source of money.

Chancellor Hammond commented at the conference that “every hour a new tech business is founded in the UK and my aim is to make that every half hour” and indicated that the UK would open its doors to innovators and inventors. He suggested the task force as a first step towards automating financial compliance in the UK.

 

 

 

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G20 Summit: No Global Regulation in Sight As Buenos Aires Bullish on Bitcoin

The G20 summit is well underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with financial leaders seemingly staying their hand on specific regulatory actions and a healthy rebound in the crypto market indicating that traders are viewing this development positively.

Financial leaders from across the world have yet to come to agreement on whether or not policies are the right thing to impose on the market right now. The G20 leaders have stated that cryptocurrency is not likely to see any global regulations any time soon.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney made comments on the eve of the summit, stating that cryptocurrencies were not a pressing issue. Carney, who also holds the position as chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), drew light on the fact that virtual assets counted for less than 1% of the global economic output at the late-2017 all-time highs.

Carney stated:

“As its work to fix the fault lines that caused the financial crisis draws to a close, the FSB is increasingly pivoting away from the design of new policy initiatives towards dynamic implementation and rigorous evaluation of the effects of the agreed G20 reforms.”

Carney also put forward the idea that, instead of regulations on cryptocurrencies, the financial system should adapt and adopt. He suggested a mutual understanding between financial leaders to prevent illicit behavior throughout the market, reducing the risk for investors, traders and big business conglomerates:

“Crypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection.”

Brazil not so confident

Following a recent publication in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazillian Central Bank President Ilan Goldfajn commented that this is a crucial time for blockchain technologies, where cryptocurrencies are still highly volatile and need to be a safe and legitimate store of value.

Goldfajn went on to say that he thought of cryptocurrencies as a store value, a crypto-asset rather than a modern-day currency: “ I don’t refer to them as money because money has to have stability in its value and be able to facilitate payments.

He did go on to state that Brazil and fellow countries were for blockchain technology adoption, but wanted to see it regulated and made secure, reiterating warnings that the technology could be used for disastrous misconduct worldwide.

Market rebound

After these announcements, the market responded accordingly

Ethereum gained a little traction, its price rising over USD 60 in under one hour. Bullish Bitcoin saw an equal spike, with its current price rising over USD 800 in the same hour, a 25% increase from its latest fall. Bitcoin looks to be breaking away from the current bear market and is likely to soon test the USD 9,000 target.

As Bitcoin trading volume has stayed at the monthly medium of around USD 6 billion, concerns remain, but any rise in trading volume will mean that Bitcoin is backed by strong hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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