As we look back over the roller-coaster ride that was the last year, high points include the dawning of BitCoin in America (and so the world’s) consciousness: Tips were exchanged over Thanksgiving dinners across that nation... “You’ve not got BitCoin yet?.. I just got some. Its going up like nothing I’ve ever seen... but young Billy bought a bunch a couple years ago... Look at him now!” Followed by a S-storm of black propaganda from the likes of Jamie Dimon that hangs in the air to this day and continues to influence the debate among the uninformed.
By this Thanksgiving we’ve had the IMF’s Christine Legarde calling for central banks to adopt the technology while the speculators’ gains were wiped away as we pass through the watersplash.
Perhaps most disappointing of all we’ve had the Task-Force’s troika’s disappointing response, its long awaited report, all but ignoring the huge opportunities presented to UK PLC in favour of navel gazing and risk assessment at a time when Britain needs to be thinking post Brexit, regardless of impact and the outcome, about its place in the world and in relation to the rest of Europe.
A little over six years ago I wrote an article counter-intuitively calling, for the first time, the creation of an ‘Innovation Unit’ within the financial regulator (August 2012 in Real Business to be precise).
It took two years and a lot of hard slog for us to make the case to BIS, the Treasury and in Parliament. Along the way triggering the Blackett review and Sir Mark Walport’s work resulting in establishment of our now world renowned regulatory innovation unit, sand boxes and – by no means least, Chancellor George Osborne instructing the FCA, in public, at the launch of Innovate Finance, that from henceforth regulation must support innovation.
Somewhere along the way we’ve seen the flowering of Fintech, with London as its world capital. For now. But let there be no complacency – there are plenty of contenders around the world aching to take that place at a time when agility and intelligence outpace mere heft. Which is why, depite all the bluster the USA, who’re trailing miserably behind, are seeking to turn back the clock.
Over the year we’ve seen a growing consensus that we stand on the cusp of the next revolution. So at a time when the future is being formed for generations to come we find that government and regulator are not just flat-footed but so far behind the curve as to be an impediment. The cryptoassets Taskforce report will be politely received but it’s a blueprint for obscurity and business as usual.
We’ve also seen the formation of the British Blockchain Industry Association (BBIA), a dedicated industry body with a vision for a better future, which I am honoured to serve as chair.
So today I’m again calling on government and regulators, especially the troika, to engage with the industry. Not just those hoping to burnish business-as-usual with closed DLT but also and especially those who understand the true potential of open Blockchain technology to create secure public infrastructure – that can serve us all, and propel us to a better future, leading the world.
I’m calling on government to commission a new report not narrowly on the aparent threat of ‘Cryptoassets’ but on the potential of creating national public infrastructure that could propel us forward in so many different areas: Health and the NHS, Logistic, Energy, Local government, Law and more.
Many commentators have pondered the role of government going forward. Well, perhaps, here it is.. if the will can be found, to look, learn and become what the world now needs and demands: Agile.
Email Barry.James@TokenIntelligence.io questions or listen to the latest at ICOrad.io