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The UK plan for Bitcoin is a step in the right direction

We are pleased to see such a measured and reasonable response from a government.

As recently as two years ago there was an open question about how governments would react to Bitcoin. Some observers warned of a coming backlash from governments attempting to quash cryptocurrency.

How far we’ve come. Today the UK government announced their framework for the regulation of digital currencies, and in it her Majesty’s government promises to “create a world-leading environment for the development of innovative payments and financial technology.” We are pleased to see such a measured and reasonable response from the government—far from an attempt to stifle Bitcoin.

To encourage Bitcoin business flourishing in their country while protecting consumers, the UK has outlined several steps it will take in regards to digital currencies. They will:

  • Apply anti-money laundering regulation to digital currency exchanges to prevent criminal use.
  • Ensure that law enforcement bodies have the necessary training, resources, and legislation to address criminal activity conducted with Bitcoin.
  • Work with the British Standards Institute and the digital currency industry to develop a set of best practices for consumer protection that does not impose an extreme regulatory burden players in the space.
  • Launch a research initiative with leading institutions within the UK to study digital currencies and increase funding for digital currency research to £10 million.

The approach outlined here is reasonable and demonstrates a genuine desire by the UK to lead the world in financial innovation. We hope that governments around the world will take notice as the UK’s statements today raise the global bar for how governments approach digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Based in Washington, D.C., Coin Center is the leading non-profit research and advocacy center focused on the public policy issues facing cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Our mission is to build a better understanding of these technologies and to promote a regulatory climate that preserves the freedom to innovate using permisionless blockchain technologies.