15 Aug UK to get more Bitcoin venture capital
I am indebted to Jerry Brito*, research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, for pointing out Luke Westaway’s CNET interview with Garrick Hileman about Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s recent Bitcoin announcement. Garrick is Economic Historian at the London School of Economics and a regular Coindesk contributor. He observes:
The Chancellor is no doubt aware that very little of the $250 million of venture capital which has been invested in Bitcoin startups to date has gone to British-based companies. The bottom line […] is that Osborne thinks he’s spotted an opportunity for the City and Silicon Roundabout to siphon investment and jobs away from the US and other markets which are taking a more aggressive Bitcoin regulatory posture.
So, will supporters of FinTech innovation succeed over the Bitcoin naysayers when the Downing Street Policy Unit and Treasury mandarins sit down to battle it out over the coming months? I’m becoming cautiously optimistic the UK may just end up with only light-touch regulation as Garrick thinks. The UK Digital Currency Association certainly hopes so as it gets ready to lobby Whitehall and Westminster.
This is a golden opportunity for London to win one over the US, especially following New York’s publication of its over-reaching BitLicense proposals. There may be some stern words to come when the UK Government eventually announces regulation – perhaps as early as this Autumn – but the reality may actually be a pleasant surprise.
I was fortunate to have interviewed Jerry Brito at Bitcoin 2014 for EpicenterBitcoin. Worth a listen.