The adoption of Bitcoin in the UK could be about to see a huge turning point within the on-going Brexit negotiations. As it stands, the UK government is currently in talks with the European Union trying to come to some sort of an agreement for the terms that will govern the UK’s eventual exit from the European Union.
We know the EU themselves are pro-crypto and as it stands, UK officials also stand on similar ground, but, how will the eventual Brexit turnout impact Bitcoins future in the UK?
According to Civil Service World, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) the UK tax and finance office, have agreed to cease all cryptocurrency based work and research until after the Brexit negotiations are complete, putting a halt to the research that has recently been carried out on a government level. It’s no secret that HMRC and other similar agencies have been working hard into exploring all aspects of blockchain technology, from how the blockchain can impact immigration and border policies, to a Bank of England led stablecoin and even research into Bitcoin adoption across the general population.
According to the report:
“Despite a successful proof-of-concept exercise, HM Revenue and Customs has suspended work to deploy blockchain technology at the UK border until after the country’s exit from the European Union has been completed.”
Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury has said:
“HMRC is working with the cross-government Future Borders Programme to progress the pilot. But implementing blockchain at scale would require significant further work by HMRC. Further work on the application of Blockchain to Authorised Economic Operator status is deferred until after the UK leaves the EU, when timescales and cost will be revisited.”
Why is this happening?
It’s clear that current budget, plans and timescale all assume the UK is a part of the European Union. Once the UK leaves however, the money, time and priorities of the teams at HMRC will all have changed, meaning that the current blockchain research plans may not be able to be completed, therefore, why should they waste time and money doing the research now, when the future of a post-Brexit UK is so uncertain?
This news is somewhat negative and will see the progression towards Bitcoin adoption in the UK face a number of hurdles. We can only hope that funding continues and that when a more clear plan for Brexit is outlined, that HMRC and co are able to continue their research and that one day, Bitcoin becomes a mainstream currency within a blockchain-adoptive UK.