British Government Grants Millions for Blockchain Technology Research

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The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which describes itself as a “a non-departmental public body principally funded through the Science Budget by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy,” has awarded £3.6 million to the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies.

The grant will fund a number of blockchain research projects, suggesting Britain is not only providing an accommodating environment for these new inventions, but actively supporting a technology that many say may add significant efficiency and cost-saving gains to diverse industries, from finance and supply chains, to manufacturing.

Among a number of projects, the grant will fund research on “algorithmic regulation and compliance,” which seemingly aims to open the way for “more effective regulation in the services industry.”

This suggests that Britain is now clearly considering law changes to accommodate these new inventions. A suggestion further strengthened by a recent FCA consultation stating they may be looking on whether Fintech and blockchain tech innovation may achieve parliament’s aims while not necessarily complying with potentially outdated laws.

A law change in this space would be the first in the world and if it is found to be intellectually sound may cement Britain’s leading role in the Fintech space. A prominent role it gained after the former British Chancellor, George Osborn, saw an opportunity in 2014 following the BitLicense debacle.

In what then some called potentially the most astute decision in perhaps a century, and what now may be considered as the highest achievement of Cameron’s leadership, the Chancellor, probably under the advice of civil servants, became the first high ranking official to own some bitcoins.

It earned London the crown of Fintech Capital of the World, which studies say assisted in its retention of the title of “The Financial Capital of the World.” Its forwards looking approach has been copied across jurisdictions, with Britain now playing a leading role on the regulatory front.

Another project to be funded is “Smart Money.” This is a concept much talked about among public blockchain thought leaders as it goes to the root of what could be a fundamental achievement of this invention.

That is, the implementation of Hayek’s insight regarding money, who, after spending much of his life studying its nature, declared in the Denationalization of Money:

“The past instability of the market economy is the consequence of the exclusion of the most important regulator of the market mechanism, money, from itself being regulated by the market process… only competition in a free market can take account of all the circumstances which ought to be taken account of.”

Hayek suggested such aim can be achieved by private companies issuing currency with the goal of maintaining its stability through the analysis of all sorts of data. The competition between them, according to Hayek, will ensure that those currencies which can best manage the process are dominant.

It is clear British civil servants are aware of such thinking for their “Smart Money” research aims to “mobilise the power of data to significantly improve decisions concerning policy-making for the control of money supply for the public good.”

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