British Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Matt Hancock delivered a speech to the Law Society yesterday and commented that blockchain technology will have a “monumental impact” on people’s lives in the future.
At London’s Blockchain Conference held on 19 April, the MP spoke of “vast areas of public life” which he predicted blockchain would transform: the financial sector, government services, and laws and regulation.
The MP pointed out that in June 2017, the UK’s top ten publicly-traded fintech businesses crossed the 100 billion dollar market at a value of GBP 71 billion. He went on to illustrate that it was blockchain which was the most important emerging technology and that UK financial regulators were leading the world in encouraging innovation.
Hancock suggested in his speech that blockchain technology could solve many of the worlds social challenges and cited the World Food Programme Ethereum Blockchain aid initiative as an example. The program has transferred cryptocurrency-based vouchers to 10,000 refugees in Syria, enabling them to buy cash-free provisions.
On the UK domestic front, Hancock outlined how the UK Government’s Digital Strategy demonstrates how Britain could become “the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and to trial new technologies like blockchain”.
In terms of regulatory barriers, currently being enforced by nations as the technology becomes more of a significant entity among financial systems, the Conservative MP said that the UK government wanted regulators to be “alert and responsive” as well as “supportive” of new technology.
He concluded with a mention of the challenges ahead: “Blockchain poses real and searching questions… What role do nation states have when setting frameworks for these decentralized, cross-border systems? And how do we address the challenges of smart contracts, when computer coding needs specificity and the law often needs interpretation?”
Due to the enormous growth in interest in new crypto assets like Bitcoin, the UK government has created a Cryptoassets Taskforce, consisting of the Treasury, Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority.