George Osborne launches Bitcoin review to reap UK economic benefit

Chancellor George Osborne today launched a review into thriving digital currency Bitcoin, aimed at establishing how UK businesses can lead the way with innovative financial technology.

There is no VAT on Bitcoin transactions

The study, which will be published later this year, will access threats and benefits the currency can bring to the UK economy.

Bitcoin, which surged to a value of $14bn at the start of the year has since stabilised at $8bn.

The UK government study will look into issues such as how to tax transactions made using unregulated cryptocurrencies.

Osborne said: “It’s only by harnessing innovations in finance, alongside our existing world class knowledge and skills in financial services, that we’ll ensure Britain’s financial sector continues to meet the diverse needs of businesses and consumers, here and around the globe, and create the jobs and growth we all want to see in the future.

“Key to the government’s long term economic plan is cementing Britain’s position as the centre of global finance.”

Claire Cockerton, chief executive and director of Innovate Finance, said: “The time has come for radical transformation of the financial services industry. Whether you are a consumer, banker or young entrepreneur – we all see enormous potential for innovation and growth in the financial services sector.

“While London and the UK provide the right talent, expertise, and market conditions, we believe our collective entrepreneurial spirit will lead us to compete and prosper on a global stage.”

Experts predict that acceptance of the currency by mainstream institutions, like the UK government and even the Drum magazine, will see its value rise in the coming year.

There are 13 million Bitcoins in circulation in around an estimated eight million user wallets.

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