March 22, 2018 / 5:01 PM / 4 months ago

Bank of England, seeking digital boost, sets up its own fintech hub

LONDON (Reuters) - The Bank of England will set up its own fintech hub to find ways to use the kind of technology that has spawned digital currencies such as bitcoin and which could eventually help boost Britain’s economy, a top BoE official said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: The Bank of England is seen through the columns of the Royal Exchange in the City of London, Britain, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

“Today I can announce that we have set up a new fintech hub that will sit at the heart of the Bank, to consider both how the Bank understands and how it applies fintech, relevant to its mission,” Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden said.

“It is important that we continue to do this with our doors firmly open,” Ramsden, who is deputy governor for markets and banking, said in a speech he was due to deliver to a fintech conference in London.

He said the hub would be a central point of contact for the fintech sector and would play a role in a new taskforce announced earlier on Thursday by Britain’s government which is seeking to keep London’s edge as a global financial centre, even as the country leaves the European Union.

Earlier this month, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said crypto-currencies such as bitcoin had failed as a form of money, but he said the technology could improve the financial system in future.

In his speech on Thursday, Ramsden said the rise of fintech could help Britain improve its long-standing problem of weak productivity growth as well as help the BoE improve its internal infrastructure.

“As a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, I need to be open minded about the way fintech could impact the economy of the UK,” he said.

“The defining trend of the last 10 years has been the weakness of productivity. Given the size of the financial sector in the UK, I can see fintech driving competition and a pick-up in productivity in the medium term.”

Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Alison Williams

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