April 12, 2017

The UK government is going all in on fintech as it readies for Brexit

By Billy

British chancellor Philip Hammond said this morning fintech is part of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” at the Treasury’s first International Fintech conference in London.

The message gives further backing to suggestions that the blossoming fintech industry is going to play a big part in the government’s plans to make sure London remains a global financial hub after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019.

Hammond told attendees that business, investors, regulators, and government must work together “to build the world’s greatest finch hub, right here in London”.

He said:

Fintech will transform again the way we live and the way we do business.”

Bank of England governor Mark Carney was also there, banging the drum for fintech in the UK’s capital.

Carney heaped praise on the technology developed for digital currency bitcoin, blockchain. He said he thinks it can “transform” crucial parts of financial infrastructure.

He said:

New technologies could transform wholesale payments, clearing and settlement. In particular, distributed ledger technology could yield significant gains in the accuracy, efficiency and security of such processes, saving tens of billions of pounds of bank capital and significantly improving the resilience of the system. Securities settlement seems particularly ripe for innovation. A typical settlement chain involves many intermediaries, making it comparatively slow and keeping operational risks high. Industry has begun to work together to determine how distributed ledger technologies could be used to solve these issues at scale.

The BoE is has already developed a proof of concept for blockchain and is a member of Hyperledger along with banks and tech firms. It’s planning to make its Real Time Gross Settlement service compatible with distributed ledger tech.

The Bank of England also said today it is accepting applications for the fourth round of its accelerator.

Meanwhile, Barclays will be opening Europe’s biggest fintech incubator in the city.