The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority have announced the inclusion of 29 new blockchain-businesses into its pioneering regulatory sandbox.
In the fifth round to date, 99 applications were received- the largest number of applications received to date. Those applying for a much sought-after place came from both the UK and further afield, mostly operating in the financial sector.
Amongst the 29 accepted applications are a total of eight projects that utilise either blockchain or distributed ledger technology.
Diro Laps is just one of those that made the cut. An identity verification service that operates on a blockchain-based network, it can verify any individual or document directly and in an auditable manner. On a similar theme is Fintech Delivery Panel Partners who aime to allow consumers to gain control of their digital identities and port verified identities across companies that require them to satisfy KYC and due diligence obligations.
Also on the list was the London Stock Exchange Group who want to test a concept that will integrate DLT into their listing and trading venues to help test the infrastructure for the issuance, admission, and trading of equity securities.
Other projects include real estate investment management, a cash flow management platform, and a platform called Fractal that facilitates SME financing and debt securitisation through the digitising of credit applications.
Launched in June 2016, the sandbox is open to any firm or business entity that is authorised, unauthorised and seeking authorisation, and businesses operating in the technological sphere. It aims to offer firms the opportunity to test their products and services in a controlled environment, to reduce time-to-market at a lower cost, to identify appropriate consumer protection safeguards, and to give them better access to finance.
Each test conducted in the sandbox should have a clear objective and be conducted on a small scale so firms can test their innovations for a limited time, with a specific number of customers.
The FCA added in a statement that “tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis. We work closely with each firm to agree testing parameters and build in appropriate consumer safeguards.”
The British Government have been working hard to cement their reputation as a go-to jurisdiction for blockchain related businesses. Whilst there is something of a lack of regulatory certainty around cryptocurrency, initiatives like the regulatory sandbox offer reassurance and much needed support to businesses wanting to operate and grow within the sector.