News story

Digital currencies: 5 reasons we’re calling for information

Bitcoin, Litecoin…why we’re calling for information on the benefits and risks of digital currencies.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

a bITCOIN

1. We want to promote innovation and competition in the banking sector

Whether it’s introducing a new way to pay a cheque into the bank, or helping small businesses get the finance that they need to grow, we want to make sure financial and payments technology works better and in the interests of the people that use them on a daily basis.

Smart phone taking a picture of a cheque

2. New types of digital currency are being developed and digital currency businesses are setting up in the UK

It is estimated that 20,000 people in the UK currently hold Bitcoins – and around £60m worth are circulating in the UK economy. But we want to get the facts on why people are using them.

'Bitcoin accepted here' sign in a window

Image courtesy of Pierre Sibileau on Flickr, used under Creative Comms

3. We want to hear about the benefits of digital currencies for the people that use them and the wider economy

So if you use Bitcoins to pay for a flight – why is it easier? Or if you’re the airline receiving payments by Bitcoin, how is that helping you?

Digital currencies aren’t the only payment innovation in the UK; contactless credit and debit cards mean you can jump on the bus in London with just a swipe of your card and mobile payment apps like Paym mean you can pay a friend back for dinner with a few taps of your mobile.

Contactless card being used on the tube

4. As well as the benefits, we also want to hear about the risks that might come with using digital currencies

For example, how vulnerable are digital currency users in comparison with those who use banks and traditional payment services?

And to what extent are digital currencies being used for illicit or illegal purposes?

Padlock wrapped around cables

Image courtesy of CyberHades on Flickr, used under Creative Comms

5. We also want to hear your views on whether regulation of digital currencies is required

The safety net of a regulator can give firms the assurance they need to start up in the UK and ensure consumers and businesses are protected.

But what kind of regulation would be appropriate? For example, should regulation be aimed at making digital currencies safer for users? Should regulation target illicit or illegal uses of digital currencies? Or would regulation prove overly burdensome for this new and growing industry?

Gavel

Image courtesy of Brian Turner on Flickr, used under Creative Comms

Want to have your say?

Visit the Call for Information

Or, for more information, read the news story.

Page image courtesy of Antana on Flickr, used under Creative Commons.

Published 3 November 2014