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Government proposes new cryptocurrency ‘Britcoin’

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

HM Treasury and the Bank of England have established a taskforce to look at introducing a UK central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the move while speaking at Fintech Week, and dubbed the potential new currency ‘Britcoin’ on Twitter.

Sunak said the taskforce would establish two new forums to engage technical experts, and key stakeholders, including financial institutions, merchants, business users, civil society groups, and consumers, through the process.

He said the initiative would “ensure the UK remains at the cutting edge of digitalising financial services”.

Sunak also announced plans to help fintech firms to grow, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) taking forward plans for a ‘scale box’. The package of measures will enhance the regulator’s ‘sandbox’ which has helped start-ups to test new propositions, and to provide a one-stop shop for growth stage firms.

The chancellor also backed the creation of an industry-led Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) and committed to work with regional and national fintech bodies to make it a reality. The CFIT would work closely with the regional hubs to identify and address sector challenges in support of fintech growth across the UK.

Sunak said the government will consult on changes to its prospectus regime – which governs the information a company must publish when raising finance – this summer. The aim is to ensure the rules are not overly burdensome but provide investors with the information they need, tailored to the type of transaction. The move aims to make it easier for companies to raise money in the UK.

Sunak said: “Our vision is for a more open, greener, and more technologically advanced financial services sector. The UK is already known for being at the forefront of innovation, but we need to go further.

“The steps I’ve outlined today, to boost growing fintechs, push the boundaries of digital finance and make our financial markets more efficient, will propel us forward. And if we can capture the extraordinary potential of technology, we’ll cement the UK’s position as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre.”