In August this year the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the Government would complete a major new review examining how the technology that serves the financial sector will evolve in the future. Alongside this the Chancellor also announced a major programme of work looking into digital currencies and associated technologies, with a particular focus on whether they should be regulated.

HM Treasury has now published a call for information on digital currencies with a particular focus on digital currencies in their function as a payment method, rather than as a speculative investment. For the purposes of the call, a digital currency scheme is one which incorporates both a decentralised payment system and a related currency.

The purpose of the call is to enable the UK Government to examine the potential benefits that digital currencies could bring to consumers, businesses and the wider economy, and look into the potential barriers that digital currency businesses face when trying to establish themselves in the UK. The UK Government will also examine the risks presented by digital currencies in order to establish whether, at this point in time, it needs to take action to counter these risks.

In the call HM Treasury states that the UK Government considers that virtual currencies differ from digital currencies in that they are issued and usually controlled by their developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community. Virtual currencies as defined are out of the scope of the call.

The call for information closes on 3 December 2014.

View Digital currencies: HM Treasury call for information, 3 November 2014