The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sees the potential of the distributed ledger technology underpinning the bitcoin currency to revolutionise financial services. The government is monitoring the development of the blockchain.

UK's financial authority previously expressed interest in the public ledger technology in a speech by the regulator's CEO in 2014 at a fintech conference in London. The recent statement came after the news that Patrick Spens, a former hedge fund founder and regulator at the FCA was hired by Financial and consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to explore blockchain's potential.

The regulator is observing the technology but is not going to take a stance until a clearer application of the public ledger evolves, Christopher Woolard, director of strategy and competition at FCA, revealed in a speech at the start of the UK Fintech week 2016 hosted by Britain's HM Treasury. The speech was published on the official website of FCA. 

Among regulatory issues requiring discussion in future, he pointed to the control of access to the technology and the data security. He affirmed that FCA continues working with firms developing the blockchain solutions via the Innovation Hub which was launched in 2014 to support businesses from the country's budget.

“We are particularly interested in exploring whether block chain technology can help firms meet know your customer or anti-money laundering requirements more efficiently and effectively. We are engaged in discussions with government and industry on this issue,” Woolard said.

Earlier this year, FCA supported a project that raises money for research and preventing of HIV by using blockchain-based securities technology.

Sonya Belova