The Bank of England has launched a fintech accelerator today to help startups with a plan to shake up central banking get the support and backing of Threadneedle Street.
The Old Lady is the first central bank in the world to create such a programme, as it opens its doors to fintech firms working on areas such as cyber security, data protection and distributed ledger – or blockchain – technology.
The scheme was scheduled to be announced by governor Mark Carney yesterday evening at Mansion House. However, following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox, Carney instead delivered a short speech reflecting on her life. The accelerator was instead launched today.
Carney would have said: "I am announcing that the Bank is launching a fintech accelerator to work in partnership with fintech firms on challenges that we, as a central bank, uniquely face.
"The accelerator will work with new technology firms to help us harness fintech innovations for central banking."
The move follows a similar announcement from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which launched a "sandbox" last year to help firms test their new ideas with the regulator before launching in the marketplace.
The Bank of England is also assessing how to integrate blockchain technology to enhance financial stability and is conducting research to "distinguish distributed ledgers' potential from its hype".
Current projects being looked at by the Bank include BitSight, which uses publicly available data to assess individual businesses' resilience to cyber attacks, and Privitar, which works to anonymise and clean up big data to make it ready for publication.
Applications to be a part of the accelerator are open from today.