Moving into Fintech space, Barclays pushes FCA for a cryptocurrency market

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World leader Barclays Bank is truly on a power drive into the Fintech domain. It has approached UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, (FCA), with a presentation on how it can create a market for the high-technology driven Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin or similar, digital currency within the country.

Speaking to CNBC, Barclays CEO, Ashok Vaswani, said, “We have been talking to a couple of Fintechs and have actually gone with the Fintechs to the FCA to talk about how we could bring, the equivalent of Bitcoin, not necessarily Bitcoin, but Crypto currencies into play. Obviously (it’s) a new area, obviously an area we’ve got to be careful with. We are working our way through it.”

From the FCA side, there has been a clear signal that the Authority is not exactly against any such initiatives or prohibit banks from dealing with digital currency or offering such services to Fintech firms that deal in such services, but has spelt out a word of caution to be observed in the whole process.

It is significant that only one year ago, Barclays backed the UK launch of ‘Circle’, the social payments outfit, which enables Bitcoin to be utilised as money transfers along with Pound Sterling and the US Dollar across popular message platforms. In 2015, Circle had created a pilot project that enabled people to make donations to charities using the digital cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin technology that uses the distributed ledger concept in its design has been put under the lens in the research lab of Barclays. It is also learnt that intense activity of innovation is going on within the bank on other cryptocurrencies as well. Shy to disclose details, Vaswani said that the technology is not yet ready for public announcement, but the bank is expecting to launch it very soon.

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