Today, the U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, bought bitcoins for the first time from Cointrader.net's Bitcoin ATM powered by Robocoin. Mr. Osborne declared that it was his intention to explore the potential for using digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, to better access finance for small businesses. He went on to explain how regulation of virtual and digital currencies, and the risks associated with them, were to be explored in a bid to boost the UK's Financial Technology (FinTech) sector.
British Chancellor, George Osborne, was the VIP guest at today's launch of Innovate Finance, previously FinTech UK, an industry body designed to champion Britain's finance and technology industry. As the Cabinet Minister is directly responsible for all economic and financial matters, Osbourne has the most powerful position in Government alongside the Prime Minister. Osbourne's receptive attitude to Bitcoin is another positive sign as the popular digital currency gains widespread worldwide institutional acceptance.
The UK government is preparing to publish a strategy document later this year setting out how the UK can become the World's "global center of financial innovation".
Today's Huffington Post is reporting that Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary, has said: "Forcing banks to refer businesses to alternative lenders is something I've been determined to make happen." He later went on to say : "It's good that more SMEs are making use of alternative finance but the big banks still dominate and small businesses often give up if they're turned down for finance by their bank. The UK needs a diverse and competitive business finance market like Germany and the US if our SMEs are to thrive, and that is why the Business Bank is so important. Money is already reaching small businesses, but my ambition for the Business Bank is to radically alter the overall market landscape."
George Osbourne is the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK Government, he is the Member of Parliment for the district of Tatton, in Cheshire. He was first elected in June 2001 becoming the youngest Conservative MP in the House of Commons. May 2010 General Election, George Osbourne has been re-elected at every election since and was, after the last election, appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by the new Prime Minister, David Cameron. The Financial Times describes Osborne as "metropolitan and socially liberal. He is hawkish on foreign policy with links to Washington neo-conservatives and ideologically committed to cutting the state. A pragmatic Eurosceptic."
In March the UK exchequer outlined plans for taxation (VAT) on bitcoins but other than this has remained tight lipped on cryptocurrencies to date. A finance spokesman said: "It's 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, and create the jobs and growth we all want to see in the future."
The city of London has been long established as a center of financial management.
Featured image by Shutterstock.