Five associations have united for the formation of a new alliance – the UK Forum for Digital Currencies (UK FDC) – which looks to elevate innovation across the industry. 

In a bid to develop better policies, practice and regulations around digital currencies, the group members include the City of London Corporation, Digital Pound Foundation, The Payments Association, TheCityUK and UK Finance

As part of the announcement, the group mapped out that ‘digital currencies have been gaining rapid momentum over the past few years and have the potential to change how society thinks about and uses money’. 

Addressing the current climate it added that ‘while there are risks’, the UK FDC has seen a growing interest and the adoption of new forms of digital money. At the heart of accommodating innovation and growth however remains a positive regulatory framework. 

The group also revealed it is eyeing combining expertise and an extended network of the five associations, as it eyes a safe and secure environment for innovators in the space. 

Riccardo Tordera Ricchi, Head of Policy and Government Relations at The Payments Association, commented: “We’re thrilled to officially launch the UK Forum for Digital Currencies alongside some of the UK’s leading organisations. 

“It will act as a key forum for discussion and collaboration around the industry’s response to digital currency developments in the UK.”

He added: “Through many months of engagement and collaboration, we’re confident we’ve united the right expertise to match our commitment to making the UK a global crypto asset technology hub.”

Expanding upon the education factor of the new collaboration, the group detailed it aims to align the associations’ education programmes and policy advocacy with the UK’s regulatory framework and understand the operational impacts, challenges, risks and potential solutions. 

It comes amid a crucial time for the UK’s digital currency evolution, with this week seeing Conservative MP Andrew Griffith providing an update on plans to introduce a digital pound, with plans for a consultation in the coming weeks. 

Griffith clarified in Parliament yesterday that the UK’s consultation into Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) will look into how the digital currency will operate in wholesale retail, with assistance from the Bank of England

Along with the launch of the consultation and the elements it may provide, the Conservative MP also revealed that the Treasury will update Parliament on any potential progression into formalising a defined crypto legislation, which has been in the works for several months now. 

He explained: “The consultation is going to say this is an ‘if’ and not a ‘when’. We are not fully into the inevitability of doing this. 

“We have got to get them right. I would rather be right than be first. It will be a long lead-time activity.”

Expert Analysis: The need for the industry to bring together its key voices is vital, with a wide spectrum of perspectives already represented in this group. It can play a key role in facilitating discussion and engagement between the UK’s existing financial services industry and the crypto industry. Furthermore, the timing couldn’t be more vital as 2023 looks to be a year of regulatory evolution for the space.