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One of the UK's top finance regulators is expanding its regulatory 'sandbox' to include more blockchain startups.

Last November, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that it was including nine such startups in its program, which aims to offer a test environment for new financial products. In the second iteration of the sandbox initiative, the FCA is adding a total of 24 startups, nine of which are blockchain-related.

Christopher Woolard, the FCA's executive director of strategy and competition, said in a statement:

The nine blockchain companies are BlockEx, Disberse, Nivaura, Nuggets, OKLink, Oraclize, Paylinko, Sabstone and ZipZap. Out of that group, Nivaura took part in the previous round.

"The sandbox continues to grow in popularity and it is particularly encouraging that both the number of firms applying and accepted for testing has increased in cohort two. That means more innovative firms, trialling more innovative propositions to bring to the market. This is an important part of the FCA’s commitment to promoting innovation and competition in the markets we regulate."

Many of the startups are using the the tech to automate data transmission, financial asset transaction, and cross-border payments, among other applications. The FCA said it received a total of 77 submissions.

The application window for the third stage of the initiative is open until 31st July, with those accepted expected to begin in November.

London image via Shutterstock

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Nivaura. 

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