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Last Wednesday the government formally announced plans to welcome and regulate digital currency activity in the UK. The promise of research funding, police training, and pragmatic regulation are welcome first steps, but to what end?
The public image of bitcoin, cultivated by the media, is of the international criminal’s currency of choice – an anonymous, untraceable means of laundering proceeds of crime. This has made for compelling column inches, but the opposite is true.
If you’re anything like me, in various accounts online you’ll have some pounds, some airmiles, some supermarket rewards points, perhaps even some dollars or euros. These are all forms of money – they’re tokens that can be exchanged for some kind of good or service.
I have just two wishes: something old and something new. Something new would be that The Chancellor could allow investors to include loan-based crowdfunding investments in their annual ISA allowance It is now possible to include unlisted AIM shares in your ISA allowance, and the Treasury is understood to be generally supportive of increasing the range of qualifying investments, potentially including crowdfunding, into ISAs.
The regulation of organisations and markets is a costly affair. State regulation currently costs the UK economy somewhere in the region of £30bn every year. Employment laws, health and safety regulations and financial compliance legislation provide the bulk of these costs.
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