UK Treasury Launches Inquiry Into Cryptocurrency

22 February 2018

The U.K. Treasury has today announced that it will conduct an inquiry into issues around cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Launched by the Treasury Committee, the investigation will take several angles including examining the role of cryptocurrencies in Britain, including potential “opportunities and risks” for consumers, the business community and government.

The potential impact of blockchain and distributed ledger technology on financial institutions and infrastructure is also under the magnifying glass, as is the matter of how to strike a regulatory balance between protecting consumers and enterprise without stalling innovation. In particular, the inquiry will “scrutinise the regulatory response” to cryptocurrencies from the government, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England.

In an announcement, Member of Parliament (MP) Nicky Morgan, who is chair of the Treasury Committee, said the committee will look at the potential risks that cryptocurrencies could pose, including price volatility, money laundering and cybercrime.

Morgan added:

“We will also examine the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and the technology underpinning them, how they can create innovative opportunities, and to what extent they could disrupt the economy and replace traditional means of payment.”

The timing of the inquiry is “right,” according to Alison McGovern MP, Treasury Committee member. “New technology offers the economy potential gains, but as recently demonstrated, it may also bring substantial risks,” she said.

It’s time the government “thought more clearly” about policies around the technology, she added.

UK parliament image via Shutterstock