The banking industry’s interest in cryptocurrencies stretches beyond just blockchain technology. Barclay, the UK-based banking giant, has made it evident in its recent interactions with the country’s regulatory body – Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
According to reports on various news outlets, the discussion between Barclays, regulators and other fintech firms has got something to do with bringing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “into play.” The information was provided by the CEO of Barclays UK, Ashok Vaswani while speaking to the media. However, he stopped short of providing more details about the use cases the banking institution is interested in implementing to its existing and/or new banking and financial solutions.
The meeting was part of an effort to discuss the legal implications of cryptocurrency use and steps that can be taken to make it comfortable and safe for the licensed mainstream financial institutions to use cryptocurrencies. Vaswani was quoted in the media saying,
“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 cryptocurrencies 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.”
Barclays has a mixed track record within the cryptocurrency community. It has an existing partnership with Circle, a financial application built on blockchain technology. At the same time, there have been numerous accusations about the bank refusing service to individuals whose accounts connected to or involved in cryptocurrency transactions. The new developments put Barclays in a positive light.
Meanwhile, FCA doesn’t seem to have many problems with the licensed financial institutions indulging in cryptocurrency trading or other related activities. The executive director of strategy at FCA, Chis Woolard, however, urges the institutions to exercise caution while dealing with digital currencies.
The new development paves the way for mainstream acceptance and legalization of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom, like in Japan after it was legalized in April 2017.