Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the launch of a new "crypto-assets task force" at the International Fintech Conference in London this March. The task force will consist of individuals from the Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority.
Mr Hammond explained that the role of the task force would be "to manage the risks around crypto-assets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology". The expectation is that it will develop industry standards for fintech, whilst at the same time seeking to support innovation in the industry.
The Chancellor's announcement follows on from the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney's comments earlier this month calling for "rigorous regulation of digital currencies". Mr Carney said: "Authorities are rightly concerned that given their inefficiency and anonymity, one of the main reasons for their use is to shield illicit activities."
Also in the speech, Mr Hammond spoke of the Treasury's plans for "robo-regulation" pilot schemes to help fintech companies construct software that ensures automatic compliance with new rules.
With the availability and application of cryptocurrencies very much on the rise, the move to introduce this measure of regulation is likely to be welcomed by most. The question now is whether these measures will be able to strike the right balance by protecting consumers whilst not stifling innovation in an industry that is, without question, an important part of the UK economy.