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UK government to explore 'potential and risk' of virtual currencies

Britain to recognise Bitcoin
Wed Aug 06 2014, 10:54

THE UK GOVERNMENT plans to explore the potential of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, as it looks to make the UK "the global centre of financial innovation".

To date, the UK government hasn't acknowledged digital currency. However, under plans announced by UK chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday, the government will look at "the opportunities and risks" presented by digital currency.

A report expected this autumn will detail the potential for cryptocurrencies, their role in business and how they should be regulated in the UK. At present, virtual currencies are not backed by a central bank of government, and so far there has been no approach to regulating digital currencies like Bitcoin.

"The government will look at the potential virtual and digital currencies have for achieving positive change and for encouraging innovation in our world leading financial sector, as well as the potential risks," Reuters quoted Osborne as saying.

Osborne added, "It is only by harnessing innovations in finance, alongside our existing world class knowledge and skills in financial services, that we'll ensure Britain's financial sector continues to meet the diverse needs of businesses and consumers here and around the globe."

While it hasn't been embraced by the UK government yet, retailers in the country have started accepting Bitcoin.

Dell announced last month that it would start accepting Bitcoin at its online stores, following in the footsteps of electronics retailer Newegg, which began accepting virtual currencies at the beginning of June. In total, more than 60,000 online retailers now accept virtual currencies. µ


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