Bank of England Launches FinTech Accelerator

By Jonathan Lawrence

On 17 June 2016 the Governor of the Bank of England announced that the Bank is launching a FinTech Accelerator to work in partnership with FinTech firms to harness innovations for its own requirements as a central bank. In return, it will offer firms the chance to demonstrate their solutions for issues facing policymakers.  The Accelerator will deploy innovative technologies on issues that matter to the Bank’s mission and operations. The Accelerator will appoint FinTech firms to run short Proof of Concept (POC) projects in a number of priority areas.

Some examples of current projects:

  • BitSight: Uses publicly available bulk data to assess firms’ cyber resilience, including looking for evidence of malware on a firm’s systems, signs of known software vulnerabilities, or weak encryption, which can be used to form a view on the information security of a firm over time. For the POC, the Bank’s own resilience will be evaluated.
  • Privitar: Provides tools to anonymise and desensitise data. The Bank will first test this software on a manufactured dataset to examine the analytical value of the desensitised data. It will then look to assess the capability of the tool on data held internally to establish if this will allow the Bank to provide wider access to data for researchers within the Bank.
  • PwC: Understanding the technology of blockchain and distributed ledger, working with PwC. The team built a multi-node scalable distributed ledger environment, which contained several smart contracts to illustrate the applications of the technology. This has enabled the Bank to better understand the resiliency benefits and practical limitations of the technology.

The Bank is interested in new ways of structuring and analysing large data sets and data gained in regulatory reporting. Other areas of interest are around machine learning, particularly in relation to anomaly detection and pattern recognition. The Bank would welcome expressions of interest or proposals for the Bank to participate in, or act as a silent observer or partner with an existing pilot distributed ledger network. Pilots should test how the technology functions in ‘real world’ scenarios.

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