London Needs Blockchain to “Stay Relevant”, Says Prominent MEP

Kay Swinburne, MEP and architect of the MiFiD II legislation, says that London's financial sector should seek to ensure its future post-Brexit by embracing blockchain technology.

The UK’s pending exit from the European Union has left some politicians with a sense of uncertainty about London’s future as a leading financial center. Kay Swinburne, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Wales, spoke to Business Insider about an idea that could ensure the City of London remains a European stronghold of financial technology.

“For me, this whole distributed ledger technology, we have to embrace it. The UK post-Brexit: how does the City of London stay relevant? The City of London stays relevant by suddenly becoming the proponents of the new technologies and not just patching existing systems to make them work post-Brexit, actually leapfrogging,” she said.

The influential politician added that she believed London’s markets could be “more efficient” and therefore more competitive if given the impetus to search for ways to leverage blockchain technology to their advantage. She likened the potential impact to that of the “Big Bang” in the 1980s, when Britain spurred economic growth in its capital city by sweeping deregulation of financial markets.

She also said she’d like to see the Bank of England adopt blockchain technology, adding that it would be a strong statement from the country’s central bank that “maybe the monetary policy of the future doesn’t involve issuing notes all the time, maybe it involves other alternative payment systems.”

Swinburne has been referred to as the “architect of MiFiD II” - a set of regulations aimed at increasing transparency for traders across Europe.

The UK’s love affair with blockchain technology didn’t start with Swinburne, though.

At the start of December last year, the House of Lords advanced an agenda for the application of blockchain technology in public sector services. The proposal encompassed measures that would make it more convenient for state departments to collaborate with one another, streamlining services for citizens and reducing redundancy.