British Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Matt Hancock has delivered a speech about the “monumental impact” he believes Blockchain will have on people’s lives, speaking at a conference today, April 19.
The UK government published a transcript of the speech on the gov.uk website, which was delivered at the Law Society as part of the London Blockchain Conference today.
Hancock singled out three “vast areas of public life” which he anticipates the “exceptional” potential of Blockchain technology will transform: the financial sector, government services, and laws and regulation.
He began with recent UK steps to encourage Fintech innovation and growth, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s new global Fintech regulatory sandbox, the Cryptoassets Taskforce jointly established by the UK Treasury, the FCA and the Bank of England, and the UK government’s publication of a robust Fintech strategy.
The MP went on to emphasize that Blockchain technology “could help us solve some of the great global social challenges of our time,” mentioning the World Food Programme Ethereum Blockchain aid initiative, which has transferred vouchers based on cryptocurrencies to 10,000 refugees in Syria, enabling them to buy food without “the need for cash, credit cards or paper.”
According to Hancock, the UK government has already invested £10 mln in support of Blockchain projects for the solar energy sector, clean water provision, electoral systems, and charitable giving.
Without mentioning the EU’s looming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation or recent newsworthy data breaches explicitly, he affirmed Blockchain’s potential to give users of government services access to and control over their personal data.
In a nudge to “regulatory barriers” to technological innovation, he said the UK government “want[s] our regulators to be alert and responsive” and “supportive” of new technology where it is obviously beneficial. The MP concluded:
Blockchain poses real and searching questions…What role do nation states have when setting frameworks for these decentralised, cross-border systems? And how do we address the challenges of smart contracts, when computer coding needs specificity and the law often needs interpretation?”
Cointelegraph recently published an analysis of the UK’s overall regulatory stance towards cryptocurrencies and Fintech, arguing it has gone a step further to foster industry growth as compared with the US.