London — The Bank of England has paired up with artificial intelligence and blockchain specialists in a bid to keep up to date with the fast-growing financial technology sector.
The central bank is testing an artificial intelligence system with Canadian start-up MindBridge AI to allow it to spot abnormalities in financial transactions and "explore the benefit of machine learning technology for analysing the quality of regulatory data input."
It has also partnered with San Francisco-based startup Ripple, which opened an office in London last year, to trial a blockchain-based technology that would make cross-border payments and the movement of currencies more immediate. Blockchain is the technology which underpins crypto-currencies like bitcoin.
The Bank said that its aim with Ripple is to "show how this kind of synchronisation might lower settlement risk and improve the speed and efficiency of cross-border payments."
One fintech chief executive said that this was a key issue for a number of consumers in Britain, adding that it would currently be "quicker to fly a large transfer of money over from the US than to transfer it."
The partnerships were announced on the same day that the BoE said it was setting up a 'community' for the sector in a bid to keep with changes in the industry.
The community includes financial technology specialists like Michael Spencer's Nex and BitSight, as well as more traditional business including BT and accountants PwC.
Claire Sunderland Hay, head of the BoE's fintech accelerator which launched last summer, said at a conference last summer that "innovation keeps our industry moving forward. Without it, we would still be using landlines."
Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said at the same conference that it was "really, really important for London to stay at the forefront of fintech."
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