Barclays talks to FCA about cryptocurrencies

Barclays talks to FCA about cryptocurrencies

Barclays has approached the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to talk about how it can bring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin "into play".

The bank's UK chief executive Ashok Vaswani told CNBC: "We have been talking to a couple of fintechs and have actually gone with the fintechs to the FCA to talk about how we could bring, the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play."

"Obviously (it's) a new area, obviously an area we've got to be careful with. We are working our way through it."

The FCA says that it does not prohibit banks from digital currency trading or offering services to firms that deal in the likes of Bitcoin, but it does urge caution.

Last year Barclays backed the UK launch of social payments outfit Circle, which enables Bitcoin, as well as sterling and dollar, money transfers across popular messaging platforms. In 2015 it set up a pilot to enable people to make donations to charities in the cryptocurrency.

While Vaswani remain coy on other current cryptocurrency work at Barclays, the bank continues to investigate the use of the distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin. Vaswani says that while the tech is "not ready for prime time, we'll get there soon".

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