Barclays’ UK CEO, Ashok Vaswani, has stated that Barclays has met with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to discuss bringing “cryptocurrencies into play.” The remark by Vaswani was prompted after being asked about whether Barclays would support bitcoin. As Bitcoin becomes easier for the public to access, it could see another significant price increase.
Speaking about cryptocurrencies and Barclays involvement, Vaswani said:
“We have been talking to a couple of fintechs and have actually gone with the fintech to the FCA to talk about how we could bring, the equivalent of bitcoin, not necessarily bitcoin, but cryptocurrencies into play. Obviously [it’s] a new area, obviously an area we’ve got to be careful with. We are working our way through it. [We’re] working on it, [it’s] not ready for prime time, we’ll get there soon.”
Obviously, the main thing scaring banks from bitcoin is its association with its use on the 'dark web' and the illegal activities it promotes, such as buying drugs and weapons. These institutions believe that any association with this sort of activity could negatively affect their image in the press and lead to financial repercussions.
The FCA’s executive director of strategy said that there does need to be caution but that the FCA doesn’t prohibit banks from engaging in digital currency trading, nor does it see cryptocurrency as a bad thing.