Bank of England’s Carney sees guarded potential in a blockchain future & Facebook’s Libra

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Mark Carney Mansion House Facebook Libra cryptocurrency speech

In a Mansion House speech last night to the City of London’s banks and big businesses, Mark Carney, the governer of the Bank of England has said that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency would be subject to the ‘highest standards’ in global regulation.

Mark Carney had previously been reported to be ‘open minded’ on the utility of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, but said that it must reach the highest standards when it succeeds in signing up new users.

Many of the established government and financial institutions worries come from how Facebook (and other cryptocurrencies) would be able to ensure anti-money laundering measures whilst protecting users’ data.

Carney also stated that the offer of ‘digital money’ had its merits when financial institutions want to streamline their transactions to lower costs, cutting out high street banks. The Bank has rejected setting up its own digital currency, preferring to regulate the offerings put forward by private sector operators.

“The very nature of commerce is changing,” he said. “Last year one fifth of all sales in the UK were online. Next year it will be one quarter. Over the past decade the proportion of total payments made in cash has declined from two thirds to one quarter.”

Philip Hammond, the UK chancellor said at the Mansion House dinner that in order to “remain a dominant player we in the UK must do what London’s markets have always done: evolve. Refuse to stand still; reject the notion of the status quo; embrace change, disruption and challenge.”

Speculation is rife, however, about the meetings next week at the G20 summit, which will see many country representatives looking forward to assessing the legal action (regarding cryptocurrencies), proposed by the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF).