Over One Third of Startups in Second Cohort of FCA’s Fintech Sandbox Are Building Blockchain Solutions

The UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has announced the second cohort of its fintech sandbox on June 15. Out of the 24 startups joining this year’s cohort, nine are developing solutions using blockchain technology, which is a testament to the potential that the FCA sees for this new technology to play a major role in the financial services sector of the future.

The FCA’s fintech sandbox allows startups to trial new financial products and services without “incurring the normal regulatory consequences.” The idea behind the fintech sandbox is to boost technological innovation as well as competition in the UK’s financial industry.

The FCA’s Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, Christopher Woolard, stated that the fintech sandbox is growing in popularity as more firms applied for this year’s cohort than for the one in the previous year.

“It is particularly encouraging that both the number of firms applying and accepted for testing has increased in cohort two. That means more innovative firms, trialing more innovative propositions to bring to the market. This is an important part of the FCA’s commitment to promoting innovation and competition in the markets we regulate,” Woolard stated.

77 submissions were received for this year’s cohort of which 31 applicants met the eligibility requirements. Out of the 31 eligible fintech startups, the 24 chosen ones were accepted into the fintech sandbox as they are ready for testing. Now that the second cohort has been finalized, the startups will start testing their new products and services shortly on a small-scale and short-term basis to safeguard consumers while still having enough leeway for innovation to thrive.

The selection of startups is very diverse. The sectors covered by the participating fintech startups include insurance, payments, retail banking, and lending, among others, while new technologies involved include artificial

Could Brexit Force Further Fintech and Cryptocurrency Innovation in the UK?

The United Kingdom has relied on its financial services industry to drive economic growth for decades. However, in light of the British population’s vote to leave the European Union and, thereby, potentially lose the access to the European Single Market, the UK’s status as Europe’s leading financial hub may wane. Is this for better or for worse regarding the crypto scene in the UK?

After surprising results of the ‘Brexit’ referendum in June 2016, several international London-based banks announced plans to move a significant part of their operations to mainland Europe to ensure future access to the European market.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs announced that in light of the uncertainty surrounding Britain leaving the European Union that it will move hundreds of staff to offices in Paris and Frankfurt as part of their Brexit contingency plans, which will now be executed as Article 50 was triggered by Prime Minister Theresa May on March 29. The American bank, however, is not the only financial institution that is relocating operations out of London.

London-headquartered HSBC intends to move 1,000 individuals from London to their Paris office within the next two years, while Swiss banking institutions UBS stated it could move as many as 5,000 employees to offices in Europe. US banks Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are also among the banks that will move staff out of London in light of the UK leaving the EU.

The primary reason for international banks relocating their key operations out of London and into the borders of the European Union is to prevent the banks from losing access to the Single European Market. The uncertainty stemming from the upcoming ‘Brexit” negotiations that will determine the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union also includes uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future access to the Single European Market. Should

How One London Startup Plans to Conquer the Bitcoin ATM Industry

Bitcoinist spoke with Landry Ntahe, head of operations at BCB ATM, a London-based Bitcoin ATM startup that currently holds the number two position by market share in the UK. 

UK Bitcoin ATM Scene

Today, BCB ATM has 16% of the Bitcoin ATM market share in the UK with seven locations in London where their Lamassu machines can be found. With an aggressive strategy of expansion to other UK cities and beyond, it’s planning to take over this nascent industry by undercutting their competition, offering customers much lower fees when buying bitcoin.

While the number of Bitcoin ATMs has already broken the 1,000 mark, the scene in London is thriving in particular, with new machines being added every month. Besides simply buying bitcoin, BCB ATM is aiming to provide additional services through their machines such as sending money abroad, topping up mobile accounts and more, which should help bring Bitcoin closer to mainstream adoption.

Bitcoinist: What has been your biggest challenge in running a BTM business?

Landry Ntahe (LN): Lack of awareness of Bitcoin in the elder generation, which makes them reluctant to place a BTM in their establishment. More needs to be done to educate others about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. That’s why we’re here to bring online currency to the high street. 

Bitcoinist: What competitive advantage are you relying on to become the number one BTM company?

LN: We are always working hard to find new ways of bringing our services to the masses. Our next plan is altcoin adoption across our ATM network.

Bitcoinist: How big is your team?

LN: We have a core team of 5 from different working backgrounds including a young apprentice as well as agents throughout the UK.

Bitcoinist: Have you considered producing your own machines?

LN: We leave the hardware to the manufacturers,