UK Treasury turns to public for advice on Bitcoin regulation, launches open consultation

The Guardian reports that the UK government is turning to the public for their views on Bitcoin and potential regulation

The Guardian reports that the UK government is turning to the public for their views on Bitcoin and potential regulation in the future.

In addition to consulting with financial regulators, law enforcement personnel and the general public, the Treasury is reaching out to FinTech companies, including those in the Bitcoin space.

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On the Digital currencies: Call for Information page, anyone with an interest in digital currency is invited, including: “digital currency developers, digital currency exchanges, digital currency users, investors, academics, think-tanks, other government departments, international counterparts, banks, building societies and other payment service providers, payment scheme companies and e-money providers.”

The approach can be compared to that taken by New York State in the proposed “BitLicense”. After public hearings on the issue, a proposal as drafted and public comment was opened for a 90-day period. The UK’s consultation closes on December 3, 2014, offering roughly 30 days for this stage of the process.

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A document outlining the areas of exploration highlights, on a high level, the benefits and risks associated with digital currency. A list of 13 questions invites more detailed insights.

Recognizing that digital currencies are technically not regulated in the UK, the government is looking to introduce regulation while preserving innovation. A Treasury spokesman said:

“We’re considering the potential benefits of digital currencies to customers and the technology that underpins them, and whether we should take action to support innovation in this area. We’re also looking at the potential risks, and assessing whether action is required to address any concerns.”

In August, Finance Minister George Osborne announced the government’s coming initiative as part of remarks on the need to strengthen London’s position in financial innovation.

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