U.K. forecast to be world-class blockchain player by 2022

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A new report predicts that the U.K. will be well placed to become a world-class blockchain and cryptocurrency hub by 2022.

The published report — created by a consortium from Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global and Deep Knowledge Analytics — is a beast, running nearly a thousand pages. It may be the first blockchain-related report first of kind in terms of depth and scope.

The research, carried out in coordination with the all-party U.K. parliamentary group on blockchain, profiles companies, think tanks, innovation hubs and individual players in the U.K. blockchain and crypto world. By collating and analyzing current and projected states of the U.K. blockchain and crypto industries, this consortium found that the U.K. has potential to nab a world-leading spot in the not too distant future.

Three key pillars that the U.K. has in place for a next-generation "Digital Crypto Economy" success are resources, industrial will and governmental will.

“The U.K. has the highest probability of becoming an international leader of a synergistically-integrated Digital Economy and to foster the evolution of a new Financial Industry powered by AI more than any other country at this point, ” Dmitry Kaminskiy, the founder of Deep Knowledge Analytics, said in a press release.

Indeed, many heavy hitters are contemplating jumping on the crypto/blockchain train, including the world’s largest wealth management firm, BlackRock.

Last week, BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink said the firm has pulled together a working group to look at blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Fink said he did not expect massive investor demand.

So, while there is a lot of crypto and blockchain excitement in the air, it seems not all financial players think the crypto world is rosey.

On Thursday, senior executives from British wealth manager companies — Wealthify, Scalable Capital and Nutmeg — hit the headlines, asking the FCA to do more to protect investors from unstable digital coin prices.

Interestingly, these U.K.-based wealth firms are backed by Aviva, Schroders and BlackRock.

Is the government listening and looking for ways to regulate?

Whatever happens, cryptocurrency is bound to have a huge impact on the U.K.

We hear of big financial players, like Barclays and BlackRock, sniffing around this volatile market, searching for an efficient way to tame the wild crypto bronco into something they can work with (or at least alongside).

We have our regulators, desperate to better control the flow of funds in and out of its jurisdictions to control, among other things, the illegal syphoning of funds to violent or extremist groups.

And lest we forget the advocates for blockchain’s decentralized structure, who worry that regulations will only hinder innovation and restrict legal activities.

The consortium's report profiled hundreds of technology companies, representing a broad group of sectors including health care, finance, government, artificial intelligence, IoT and information security.

The publication also lists the corporate investments in the £500-million-plus ballpark that took place in the U.K. in 2017-18.

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