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Tough medicine for the UK payments system – but how sick is the patient?

On 13 November 2014, the UK Payments System Regulator (PSR) released “A new regulatory framework for payment systems in the UK”. This document outlines, and seeks feedback on, the PSR’s thinking on its regulatory approach in the lead-up to becoming operational in April 2015. The PSR is a new economic regulator that sits within the Financial Conduct Authority and has broad powers to designate payment systems and impose standards. While on paper, the PSR’s powers are not too dissimilar to those of Australia’s own Payments System Board, at first glance, the 13 November consultation paper suggests a much more invasive, and it could be argued ill-conceived, regulatory stance.
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Towards a sensible dialogue on cybercurrencies

If you work in payments, you will for sure have been part of a Bitcoin debate in the last 12 months. Until recently, such discussions usually took one of two forms: they were either pep rallies or exorcisms. Actually, the most entertaining events in my memory happened when participants turned up expecting one, and got the other. A brief terminological note: “cybercurrencies” in this context means any open protocol for the retention and transfer of value where the attribution of value, and the recognition of ownership, does not derive from or rely on a national currency. There are many ways of doing this, including open loyalty schemes, game currency platforms and algorithmic currencies, but the best known is Bitcoin.
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