A British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has called on the City of London and the Bank of England to embrace blockchain technology as a means of staying relevant in the post-Brexit era.
Kay Swinburne, who is also the most senior legislator on the EU's Economic and Monetary Committee, told Business Insider that "the conservative status quo is now too risky with Brexit," and that the U.K. must embrace distributed ledger technology (DLT) to make its markets more efficient.
Swinburne reportedly said:
"The UK post-Brexit: how does the City of London stay relevant? The City of London stays relevant by suddenly becoming the proponents of the new technologies and not just patching existing systems to make them work post-Brexit, actually leapfrogging."
The MEP added that she felt that a post-Brexit Britain was better positioned than the EU to benefit from blockchain technology, but only if it is prepared to take risks.
Comparing the blockchain moment with the "Big Bang" of the 1980s – an uptick in market activity after the swift deregulation of the markets under Margaret Thatcher – she said, "We've got proof of concept of DLT in so many areas. It now needs to be scaled up. We've got to take some risks. We have the opportunity to really make a difference in a way that I don't think Europe post-Brexit is going to be able to do."
The Conservative Party MEP also appealed to the Bank of England to incorporate blockchain into a more modern monetary policy vision, arguing it should be the first central bank to "open up" and accept that future monetary policy "doesn't involve issuing notes all the time, maybe it involves other alternative payment systems."
The U.K. has demonstrated continued interest in blockchain. Most recently, the government's technology development arm, Innovate UK, announced in January that it plans to invest £19 million ($26.6 million) in projects contributing to "the fields of emerging and enabling technologies" including distributed ledger technologies.
Previously, in late 2016, the nation's finance watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, launched a regulatory "sandbox" to provide a number blockchain-focused startups a test environment for new financial products.
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