Blockchain specialists among first round of FCA sandbox entrants

Major blockchain companies including SETL are leading the first group of FinTech firms joining the FCA’s regulatory sandbox.
By Paul Walsh
Blockchain start-up SETL has been revealed as one of the first 24 firms to be accepted into the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox.

SETL joins other distributed ledger technology (DLT) firms including BitX and Nivaura to be accepted by the FCA.

Inclusion is the latest development for SETL who revealed last month that it had teamed up with DLT start-up Cobalt DL to produce a post-trade tool for foreign exchange, with 15 leading institutional FX participants already signed up.

The FCA said it received 69 applications from a range of sectors, geographies and sizes to join the sandbox and 24 of those are expected to begin testing shortly.

The regulatory sandbox provides a “safe space” for FinTech companies to test products, services and delivery mechanisms in a live environment.

It was launched alongside the FCA’s Project Innovate in 2014.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said the selection process was intense for both the firms and the regulator.

“We look forward to these businesses bringing new products and services to market whilst we ensure that appropriate consumer protection safeguards are in place,” he said.

Testing will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA has worked with the 24 companies to agree testing parameters.

FinTech firms can apply for the second sandbox cohort from 21 November this year and it is open to start-ups, incumbents and anything in between.