The U.K.’s central bank, the Bank of England, has become the latest central bank to give its backing to blockchain technology, announcing plans for trials of a blockchain protocol designed to enhance data privacy.
As part of the trial, the bank is soliciting for blockchain startups to proceed in early trials of their system, as they seek to develop a digitized, distributed mechanism for securing the privacy and integrity of personal data.
Speaking at a fintech conference in London this month, the bank’s governor, Mark Carney, said the bank wants to continue its work in this area, including looking at digital currency options, in tandem with other central banks worldwide.
Addressing delegates, Carney said that the bank would be opening up its startup accelerator, in a bid to get industry partners on board with these trials.
“Today we are opening our fourth round of applications to the Accelerator. We are looking to work on new proofs of concept on maintaining privacy in a distributed ledger and applying a range of big data tools to support the bank’s analysis.”
The announcement has been seen as the latest positive indicator from the Bank of England that it is seriously looking at the blockchain and its potential for redefining central banking and financial services more broadly.
Over the last 12 months, the Bank of England has been among the most forward-thinking central banks on this issue, indicating wholehearted support for further exploration of distributed ledger technology.
With a range of benefits slated for the financial services sector, from increased security to fraud prevention and lower transactional costs, the bank’s attitude to the blockchain has helped make London a focal point for fintech startups and blockchain development.
Earlier this year, the bank became a member of the multi-company consortium developing the open-source Hyperledger project.
Additionally, its newly unveiled real-time gross settlement service has been designed to be compatible with blockchain technology, in a further sign of the bank future-proofing for the rollout of blockchain systems.
The Bank of England is expected to identify testing partners in the coming weeks, with a view to working more closely with industry partners to develop their new blockchain infrastructure.