A bus passes the Bank of England in London in this file shot taken in May 2015. Photo: Reuters

Crypto-currencies, as the world now knows well, can bring both risks and benefits and the UK government has just announced it is setting up a new task force that will examine both.

Britain’s finance department, the Treasury, announced on Thursday that the task force will also include Britain’s central bank, the Bank of England, and the country’s industry watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, and, reports CNBC, it is part of a wider strategy that includes a “fintech bridge” that aims to aid British and Australian firms trading products and services.

Another aim is to create financial industry-wide standards that will make it easier for fintech firms to partner with banks and UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond said the initiative will help the UK remain “at the cutting edge of the digital revolution,” while also helping London “manage the risks around crypto assets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology.”

Earlier this year Bank of England Governor Mark Carney described the crypto-currency market as “speculative mania” while the Financial Conduct Authority Chief Executive Andrew Bailey told buyers of bitcoin to “be prepared to lose all your money.”

The task force should have some interesting days ahead.

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