The British Economic Secretary to Treasury Harriet Baldwin MP has delivered a speech in which, on behalf of the UK government, she expressed the commitment to support the development of blockchain, create attractive conditions for digital currency companies and invest into research in the field of distributed ledger technology.

She praised the technology, saying it has all the potential “to facilitate the fast, efficient, and secure transfer of ownership of digital assets — including bonds, shares, and other financial instruments, over the internet”. Ms Baldwin mentioned a number of useful features the protocol offers, such as “the function of digitally ‘signing’ and time-stamping digital assets helping maintain records of digital documents securely and efficiently”.

She unveiled the governmental initiative to bring together the Research Councils, Alan Turing Institute and Digital Catapult with industry to work on distributed ledger technology, and for this purpose promised to increase research funding in the area by £10 million.

Ms Baldwin noted that the UK accounts for 42% of all European fintech investment, and that the GDP of Britain gained extra £20 billion last year as a result of the sector’s activities. She mentioned digital currency businesses relocating to the UK, claiming that it was due to the government’s efforts to create regulatory framework for digital currencies.

“For example, Circle, a bitcoin services company, has announced that it is planning to open a London office from which it will coordinate its European expansion. Why the UK? Well, Circle were very clear: it was because of our positive attitude to FinTech and to digital currencies,” Ms Baldwin said.

She also promised that the government will “continue working hard to attract innovative companies”.

Maria Rudina