Bank of England governor Mark Carney said that distributed ledger tech (DLT) projects have the potential to "unlock billions of pounds in capital and liquidity" -- and that they might one day see closer cooperation with the central bank itself.
Carney spoke on June 20 during an appearance at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet for Bankers and Merchants of the City of London, according to published remarks. In the speech, which centered on new forms of financial products and services, Carney stated that "the Bank of England is announcing plans to consult on opening access to our balance sheet to new payment providers," going to on remark that "this access could empower a host of new innovation."
It was at this point that Carney invoked work being done on the blockchain and DLT front, telling attendees:
On their face, the comments offer a hint -- however brief -- that companies using DLT might one day be able to tap directly into the Bank of England's services.
, the firm behind the Utility Settlement Coin (USC) initiative, raised just over $63 million in new funding, as The Wall Street Journal reported in early June.
During his appearance, Carney returned to a topic he touched on earlier this week: the subject of Facebook's newly-unveiled cryptocurrency, Libra. In the wake of the announcement, Carney remarked that he expects Libra to abide by high standards of compliance and regulation, and on Thursday, he restated that sentiment.
"The Bank of England approaches Libra with an open mind but not an open door, said Carney. "Unlike social media for which standards and regulations are being debated well after it has been adopted by billions of users, the terms of engagement for innovations such as Libra must be adopted in advance of any launch."
Libra, if it achieves its ambitions, would be systemically important," he went on to say, continuing:
"Our citizens deserve no less," he concluded.
On Wednesday, Carney's American counterpart, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, said that Facebook had met with representatives of the Fed and that the project was "something we’re looking at."
"I would echo what Governor Carney said which is that we will wind up having quite high expectations from a safety and soundness and regulatory standpoint if they do decide to go forward with something," Powell said during a press conference.
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